Bad taste: Riley and his mother Tracy outside the McDonald's. Photo: Kirk Gilmour
A five-year-old boy has sworn off chicken nuggets after he was served a near-raw six pack from a McDonald's Drive Thru on the NSW south coast on Wednesday night.
Riley Luke's dinner from the Woonona restaurant looked normal at first but was strangely "soft" when he bit it.
He alerted two of his brothers, who also sampled the pink poultry.
Raw in the middle: the chicken nuggets.
Together they ate about half a nugget before their mother, Tracy Luke, responded to their calls and told them: "Don't eat that!"
Mrs Luke said: "These chicken nuggets, I swear they've gone in the oil and they've come straight back out again.
"I thought, they can't do this - this could kill someone."
The mother of four said the Woonona store manager told her, "Oh, sorry ... we've had another one complain about that" when she returned later that night and asked for a refund.
She said she was later contacted by an area manager, who told her the error probably lay with "a young kid" working at the restaurant and asked her to remove a photo of the uncooked food she had posted on a Facebook page called Name, Shame and Praise Illawarra.
"I'm livid. My son's epileptic too - he could have possibly died from this," Mrs Luke said.
"I said I won't [remove the photo] until something's done.
"I just don't want this to happen to someone else."
Neither Riley nor his brothers took ill in the following days.
Mrs Luke has since complained to McDonald's head office.
A McDonald's spokeswoman told the Illawarra Mercury the company was investigating.
"We are disappointed that this has happened," she said. "We are currently investigating this with the restaurant and liaising with the customer directly."
Uncooked chicken is naturally contaminated with bacteria including salmonella, listeria and campylobacter, which can cause food poisoning.
Lydia Buchtmann, spokeswoman for the Food Safety Information Council, said chicken needed to be cooked all the way through, until it was 75 degrees in the centre, to kill the bacteria.
"People shouldn't consume chicken if it appears uncooked," she said.
"There are an estimated 5.4 million cases of food poisoning in Australia each year."
A spokeswoman for the NSW Food Authority said food poisoning could be especially serious for children under five, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems and the over-70s.
"Whether you get ill depends on the level of contamination, how much you ate and your personal situation," the spokeswoman said.
The Food Authority said problems should at first be reported to the business from where the food was purchased. Complaints were best directed to the local council.