How To Tell If Raw Chicken Is Bad

Have you ever wondered how to tell if raw chicken is bad? Determining whether raw chicken has gone bad is crucial for food safety and to avoid food-borne illnesses. The primary indicators of bad raw chicken include a sour or unpleasant odor, changes in color, a slimy texture, and the expiration date. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to discard the chicken to ensure health and safety.

raw chicken in a bowl

How to Tell if Raw Chicken is Bad

Odor: One of the most reliable ways to tell if raw chicken is bad is its smell. Fresh chicken should have a mild or even no distinct smell. If your chicken has a sour or ammonia-like odor, it’s a clear sign that it’s gone bad. To put it simply, rotten chicken stinks!

Color Changes: Fresh raw chicken is generally a light pink color with white fat. If you notice any significant changes in color, like a grayish hue, green spots, or a deepening red, it’s a sign of spoilage.

Texture: Fresh chicken should feel moist but not slimy. If the chicken feels sticky or slimy to the touch, it’s likely bad. This sliminess indicates bacterial growth.

Expiration Dates: A key indicator in telling if raw chicken has gone bad is to check the expiration date. Always check the “sell by” or “use by” dates on the chicken’s packaging. While these dates are not foolproof indicators of spoilage, they are good initial checks to ensure the chicken is within a safe consumption period.

How Long is Raw Chicken Good in the Fridge?

Raw chicken is typically good in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. This guideline is important for ensuring food safety, as chicken is susceptible to bacterial growth. To maximize the shelf life of raw chicken, it should be refrigerated in a leak-proof container to prevent its juices from spreading to other foods and surfaces.

How about cooked chicken? Learn how long cooked chicken is good in the fridge.

Understanding the Basics of Chicken Spoilage

Food Safety and Chicken: Chicken is a highly nutritious and versatile meat, but it’s also prone to bacterial growth like Salmonella and Campylobacter, which can cause food poisoning. Understanding the basics of being able to tell if raw chicken has gone bad is essential for everyone who handles or cooks chicken.

Common Causes of Spoilage: Several factors contribute to chicken spoilage, including improper storage, cross-contamination, and not following the “use by” dates. Knowing these causes can help in preventing early spoilage of chicken.

Tenderizing Raw Chicken Breast with a Meat Mallet

Raw Chicken that has Gone Bad: Health Risks

Food-borne Illnesses: Consuming bad chicken can lead to severe food-borne illnesses. Symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms can be severe, especially in young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. Having the skills to tell if raw chicken has gone bad can prevent this from happening.

Preventive Measures: To prevent food-borne illnesses, always handle chicken properly. This includes storing it at the right temperature, avoiding cross-contamination, and cooking it to the right internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria.

Safe Handling and Storage of Chicken

Refrigeration: Store raw chicken in the refrigerator immediately after purchase. The ideal temperature is below 40°F (4°C) to slow down bacterial growth.

Freezing: I’m here to teach you how to tell if raw chicken has gone bad, but, one great way to prevent it is to freeze your chicken right away. If you’re not planning to cook the chicken within a few days, freezing is the best option. Frozen chicken can be safe indefinitely, but for best quality, use it within nine months.

Avoiding Cross-Contamination: Always use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw chicken to prevent cross-contamination with other foods.

Thawing Chicken: Thaw frozen chicken in the refrigerator, not on the countertop. This slow thawing process helps prevent bacterial growth. Here’s more information on how to defrost chicken.

FAQs About Chicken Spoilage

Q: Can you eat chicken past its “use by” date if it smells and looks fine?
A: It’s risky. The “use by” date is a good indicator of the chicken’s freshness. If it’s past this date, even if it smells and looks fine, there’s a higher risk of bacterial growth.

Q: Is it safe to cook and eat slimy chicken after washing it?
A: No. Washing won’t remove the bacteria. If the chicken is slimy, it’s best to discard it. Slimy chicken with a funny smell is one of the best ways to tell if raw chicken is bad.

Identifying whether raw chicken has gone bad is essential for your health and safety. Trust your senses and follow good food safety practices to avoid the risks associated with spoiled chicken.

Remember, when in doubt, it’s safer to throw it out!

Person Throwing Piece of Broccoli in the Trash Can

I’ve strived to provide information on how to tell if raw chicken is bad, focusing on both sensory and practical aspects, along with tips for safe handling and storage.

We’ve all been in that moment, opening a package of raw chicken and wondering to ourselves: Does this smell okay? I hope that my tips and suggestions will help you come up with a confident answer to that question the next time you open a package of chicken!

Visit the USDA website for even more information about chicken spoilage.

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