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02:42 | 01/06/2024

How to Determine Chicken Freshness in the Refrigerator

Food safety: Storing chicken in the refrigerator is convenient, but many people wonder how long it remains safe, especially during the festive holiday season. However, this flavorful and nutritious protein source carries a high risk of bacterial contamination. Handling, storing, and cooking chicken properly is crucial to avoid foodborne illnesses and ensure food safety.

Discover essential food safety guidelines to ensure safe chicken storage and handling. Protect against foodborne illnesses effectively

Food quality control: Refrigeration Duration:

According to the USDA, raw chicken can be safely stored in the fridge for 1-2 days, similar to other types of poultry. Cooked chicken, on the other hand, can last for 3-4 days. Refrigeration slows bacterial growth below 4°C (39.2°F), improving food safety.

Storage Tips:

  • Store raw chicken in leak-proof containers to prevent meat juices from leaking and contaminating other foods. This practice enhances food safety by minimizing cross-contamination.
  • For extended storage, it is recommended to freeze cooked chicken in airtight containers. Cooked chicken pieces can be stored in the freezer for 2-6 months, maintaining food safety over long periods.

Food protection: Signs of Spoilage

Here are some ways to identify spoiled chicken, according to the Vietnam Institute of Applied Medicine:

  • Change in Color: Both raw and cooked chicken will start to turn greyish-green when spoiled. Gray to green mold spots indicate bacterial growth, indicating compromised food safety.
  • Foul Odor: Spoiled chicken emits an acidic, ammonia-like smell. However, this odor may be challenging to detect if the chicken has been marinated with sauces, herbs, or spices.
  • Abnormal Texture: Spoiled chicken will feel slimy to the touch, another indicator that it is no longer safe to consume.

Food standards: Risks of Consuming Spoiled Chicken:

Consuming spoiled chicken can lead to foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning. Chickens carry a high risk of foodborne illness because they can be contaminated with bacteria like Campylobacter and Salmonella. While thorough cooking usually eliminates these bacteria, consuming spoiled chicken can still cause food poisoning, a severe breach of food safety.

Even though reheating or cooking again may kill surface bacteria, it won’t eliminate toxins produced by bacteria, potentially leading to food poisoning if consumed. Symptoms of food poisoning include high fever (above 38.6°C or 101.5°F), chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stools, and dehydration. In severe cases, food poisoning may require hospitalization and can even be fatal. If you suspect your chicken is spoiled, it’s best not to consume it. Discard any chicken you suspect may be spoiled to avoid health risks and ensure food safety.