THE head of Master Chefs of Great Britain has condemned the BBC’s Masterchef programme for putting a contestant who served raw chicken through to the quarter-finals.
George McIvor, whose organisation promotes British recipes, suppliers and chefs, accused programme-makers of putting good television ahead of common sense.
A MasterChef hopeful, known only as Visha, served a plate of undercooked poultry to judges Greg Wallace and John Torode earlier this month.
Mr McIvor wrote in a newspaper letter: “Consuming raw chicken leads to food poisoning.
“The Government highlights this problem on their website as, indeed does the BBC’s own Good Food website.
“For the judges to feel it was acceptable to put a competitor through who did not understand nor comply with basic health and safety procedures relating to raw poultry sends the wrong message to the general public.
“I trust this will not happen again and that common sense prevails over the need for good television.”
Visha had hoped to surprise Wallace and Torode on the show – aired on April 12 – with a plate of chicken leg rubbed with a garlic and Scotch bonnet pepper paste, lentils with coriander and spiced fondant potatoes.
Despite her potentially deadly mishap she was praised for the dish’s “flavour.”
Greg Wallace said: “Your flavours are lovely. However that whole thing is going to be ruined if you serve us an undercooked chicken and raw lentils.”
Viewers were then shocked when she was put through anyway.
Mr McIvor, from Auchterarder, Perth and Kinross, pointed out that the BBC Good Food Guide warns:”Raw chicken needs to be handled with care as it can contain lots of harmful bacteria that can make you very ill.
“If in doubt chuck it out! No one likes food waste but better to waste food than make yourself and others extremely ill.”
Following the raw chicken incident, social media users were outraged.
Will Lockwood said on Twitter: “If you serve raw chicken you should go home.”
Triss Ryan added: If you can get through MasterChef serving raw chicken something’s not right!”
And Joanne Howey wrote: “How can some serve raw chicken and get through?! Others have left for that.”
A spokesman for MasterChef said at the time: “In this particular case the judges felt the contestant had shown more promise than some of the others who cooked that day and so put her through to the next round.”