Stomach churning footage shows how factory workers use their MOUTHS to strip the bones from chicken feet before selling them to the public.
Hygiene officials were outraged after seeing how staff were banned from using pliers or cooking utensils to prepare the popular dish.
Bosses at the factory in Nong Khai, northeast Thailand, said it was ”five times faster” to process the chicken feet by mouth.
WATCH “Dirty delicacy”
But local council officers visited the facility on Tuesday (January 28) morning where they filmed workers carrying out the bizarre practice.
They then returned the next day and ordered the owner to change his methods.
Provincial governor Ronnachai Jitwiset is now probing other factories in the region amid suspicions that many places use the unhygienic method of food processing for one of the country’s most popular snacks.
Ronnachai said: “We looked around the factory and it looked clean and organised, but we have to ordered them to stop using mouths to process food.
“There are numerous germs that could enter the mouth or spread from the mouth to the chicken foot, so we cannot risk workers and customers getting sick.”
Chicken feet can be boiled and added to noodles or deep fried and eaten as a crunchy snack. They are a popular dish throughout Asia.
Watcharapong Homwutthiwong, a dentist from the country’s public health department, said it is dangerous for workers to use their mouth as there are several diseases that could spread.
He said: “There are several diseases that could be contagious through the saliva including influenza, herpes or even the hazardous like hepatitis A and B.”
Factory owner Nongluck Payakphrom, 31, explained that using pliers to strip the chicken feet was slow and inefficient but they are willing to change.
She said: “When I first started the business we used pliers to strip the chicken feet but it took five minutes to finish one foot which is too long and the customers did not like the end product.
“I have changed the approach to let the worker use their mouth to strip it them the customer prefer it, which boosted sales.
“However, we understand that our approach has caused a backlash and we are happy to change.
“The factory will be closed until the workers can use the pliers to process the feet as well as they do when using their mouths.”
Although many were disgusted, most feel sorry for the workers who have to chew on raw chicken all day long.