School defends ‘disgusting’ chicken burger with explanation pink meat was ‘near bone’

A school says a chicken burger which a pupil claims was “raw and undercooked” was perfectly safe to eat.

The student claims the meat in the burger she was served for lunch at St Michael’s Catholic Academy in Billingham, Teesside, was “pink” inside.

The teenage girl posted a picture of it on social media and labelled it “absolutely disgusting” and complained to a senior leader at school, reports Teesside Live.

The year 10 pupil’s mum confirmed they had contacted the environmental health department at Stockton Council.

However, following a visit, health bosses were happy with St Michael’s Catholic Academy’s cooking procedures. Though the school says to “allay any possible concerns” in the future it will switch from full chicken breasts to mini fillets.

The pupil, who did not want to be named, described the meat as “raw and undercooked” and said her friend also had the burger hers appeared to be even worse. The teenager claims she highlighted it as it was not a one-off incident.

Speaking to Teesside Live, the youngster’s mum said: “A similar thing happened last year and we reported it. We have reported it to environmental health again.”

A spokesman for St Michael’s Catholic Academy, on Beamish Road, said: “The school prides itself on the quality of the food served to the children and so has been using full chicken breasts rather than reconstituted. They are fried off by our chefs before being oven baked.

“The cooked chicken then undergoes three tests – with a temperature probe, randomly selected chicken pieces are cut open for inspection and the fibres ‘shredded’ to check their consistency. The pink colouration is because the meat on the breast was nearer the bone, in the same way chicken thighs are off-white.

“The school ovens, probes and freezers are calibrated and checked regularly and meticulous records kept. The Environmental Health Officer attended and reviewed all food safety practices, documentation and calibrated all probes on site.

“The Environmental Health Officer was happy that the catering manager and team were fully compliant in food safety. Even though we are pleased the Environmental Health Officer supports our kitchen practices, we understand some students feel uncomfortable and so we will be using mini fillets rather than full chicken breasts in the future to allay any possible concerns.”