Restaurant owner responds to customer's claim that there were maggots in food

A Jacksonville, Fla., restaurant owner is responding to a customer’s claims that her dish had maggots in it, stating the food they serve is “safe.”

Last week Keondra White ordered a chicken dish from Caribbean Sunrise Restaurant and Bakery. White claims once she started eating the dish, she noticed live maggots on top of the chicken.

White posted a video of the maggots on Facebook.

“It was just pure disgust, something you can’t fathom seeing that,” White told Action News Jax.

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Now restaurant owner Denise Daley has responded to the customer’s allegations.

“There was no doubt on our part that the food was safe,” Daley said to Action News.

Daley confirmed on Facebook that an incident did occur at the restaurant that “compromised our standards,” but insists it was not due to the cooking.

“I have no idea what the customer did (with) the food,” Daley said. “but once the food leaves here, we have no control over what happens to it.”

Daley told the news outlet their jerk chicken – which the customer ordered – goes from being cooked in an oven to smoked on a grill and then stored in a hot box before being heated again in a microwave before it is given to the customer.

Daley also shared the restaurant had discarded all contaminated meat.

Lauri Wright, a nutrition professor at the University of North Florida, told Action News high temperatures should kill off any maggots or fly eggs.

“You want it a good 180 degrees internal temperature,” Wright said. “If you don’t hit that, the maggots could still be alive.”

Though, flies can lay their eggs after food has been cooked.

“Often, (the maggots) come after the food has been prepared, has been cooked, and when it’s sitting out,” Wright said to Action News.

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Daley denies the food was left out before the customer took it.

Florida state health inspectors reportedly found violations at the restaurant two days in a row. On Friday, inspectors found flies in the kitchen and dining area and cited Caribbean Sunrise for not keeping food, including chicken and beef, in a cold enough storage area, Action News Jax reported.