Jacksonville restaurant owner fighting claims that there were maggots in food

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The owner of the Caribbean Sunrise Restaurant and Bakery says their food is completely safe.

His comment comes after a customer posted a video showing live maggots in a chicken dish she claims she ordered from Caribbean Sunrise.

Action News Jax reported Thursday that the customer, Keondra White, got sick after eating off the plate.

“It was just pure disgust, something you can’t fathom seeing that,” White said

Restaurant owner Denise Daley took us through the restaurant’s kitchen Friday.

She told us their jerk chicken is cooked in an oven, smoked on a grill, stored in a hot box, and heated in a microwave. That’s before it gets to the customer.

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

The restaurant posted on social media there was an incident that “compromised our standards.” Despite that, Daley says the Caribbean Sunrise is not at fault.

“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.”

Lauri Wright, a nutrition professor at the University of North Florida, said high temperatures will normally kill any maggots or fly eggs, but it depends on how hot those temperatures are.

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

Wright also says food doesn’t have to be sitting out for very long for flies to lay their eggs.

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

Daley claims the chicken was never left out for any period of time.

State inspectors did find violations at Caribbean Sunrise for the second consecutive day.

On Friday, inspectors found there were flies in the kitchen and dining area. The restaurant also received a violation for not keeping food, including chicken and beef, in a cold enough storage area.