WARNING: Disturbing content
A CANBERRA mother who bought fried chicken from a local store for her young family claims she was "sickened" to discover a large cockroach embedded in one of the pieces.
Katie Shearer, 37, ordered the 10-piece takeaway meal, along with other items, from Kingsley's Chicken at Kippax Fair Shopping Centre on Wednesday night.
She took the food home to her husband and four children aged two to 16 for dinner and put the leftovers in the fridge. The next day, she said she pulled the chicken pieces out, and put them on a plate for lunch. Moments later, she "noticed something black sticking out" and made a sickening discovery.
"I thought it was a burnt bit of skin and went to pull it off when I discovered it was not skin but a cockroach," Ms Shearer told news.com.au. "I instantly felt sick thinking about what we had eaten the night before as a family for dinner.
"(It was) sickening to think I had fed my family this food that was cooked in the same fat fryer the night before."
News.com.au has contacted Kingley's Chicken for comment.
Ms Shearer immediately reported the incident to ACT Health Protection Services. She received a response on email saying the organisation would "lodge a complaint and investigate".
An ACT Health spokesperson told news.com.au that the department was "investigating the complaint received on Thursday regarding this food business".
"All complaints are taken seriously and investigated by our public health officers as a matter of priority," the spokesperson said.
"If any noncompliance is identified through our inspections and the food business has not been able to rectify these issues, Health Protection Service will take appropriate action in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the community.
Ms Shearer said she returned to the store and asked to speak to a staff member on Thursday evening.
"I explained what I had found and proceeded to show him the chicken I had kept in a bag," she said. "He then got another manager who … was very unsure of how this could have happened and was blaming boxes coming into the store and nature.
"He took the piece away into the back cooking area to investigate further."
Kingsley's Chicken is a "leading chain of eight fast food restaurants specialising in cooked chicken", according to the company's website. Three of its stores are franchised and the others are company-owned in the Canberra and Queanbeyan regions, trading as Kingsley's Chicken and Kingsley's Express.
"Kingsley's sells freshly cooked grilled breast chicken fillets which are gluten free and may be eaten with our potato chip which of course is gluten free," the site reads.
Ms Shearer said she was told "the place gets sprayed every three to four weeks".
"I asked questions about where the chicken is crumbed; on-site or ordered in already crumbed, and he replied 'we do it all here'," she said.
"I said this chicken piece is evidence that it was embedded in the chicken before cooking.
"He took my details and gave me a refund, still trying to offer me more food. I refused, informed him I will be notifying the Health Department, said 'thank you' and left."