Have you ever found yourself in the kitchen, staring at a package of raw chicken and wondering if it’s still safe to eat? We all face a common dilemma when life gets busy, and meal planning falls by the wayside. But how long can raw chicken really stay in the fridge before it becomes a food safety risk? Is it safe to keep it for a whole week? In this article, we’ll dive into the facts and provide you with the information you need to know about raw chicken in the fridge for seven days. From storage tips to signs of spoilage, we’ve got you covered. So let’s get started!
The Risks Of Consuming Raw Chicken
Raw may seem like a convenient meal option, but it comes with significant risks that should not be ignored. Here are the top risks associated with consuming raw chicken:
- Salmonella: Raw chicken is a common carrier of the bacteria Salmonella, which causes food poisoning. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Salmonella is responsible for approximately 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths annually.
- Campylobacter: Another bacteria commonly found in raw chicken is Campylobacter. It, too, can cause food poisoning, with symptoms including diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. According to the CDC, Campylobacter is responsible for an estimated 1.3 million illnesses each year in the United States.
- Clostridium perfringens: Yet another bacteria that can be found in raw chicken is Clostridium perfringens, which causes gastroenteritis. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cramping. According to the CDC, Clostridium perfringens is responsible for approximately 1 million cases of food poisoning each year in the United States.
To avoid these risks, it is important to always cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F before consuming it. Don’t rely on visual cues like color or texture to determine if the chicken is cooked properly. Use a meat thermometer to ensure safety.
Why It Matters?
Storing raw chicken properly is crucial in reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses. Knowing the maximum storage time for raw chicken is important to avoid consuming spoiled meat that can lead to food poisoning. The Centro Food Safety website states, “The CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick after consuming contaminated food”. Raw chicken is one of the leading causes of foodborne illness.
The bacteria present in raw chicken can multiply rapidly when in temperatures between 40°F to 115°F (4.4°C to 46.1°C). When stored outside the fridge, bacteria can grow and lead to contamination. Cross-contamination is also a major concern, as germs can spread from uncooked chicken to other foods in the kitchen through contact with utensils, cutting boards, or even through your hands.
Properly storing raw chicken and following food safety guidelines are essential in keeping your family and yourself healthy. Aspergillus summarizes this: “Storing chicken beyond its expiry date can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria like salmonella and listeria and can make anyone who consumes it fall sick.”
Taking measures such as cooking chicken thoroughly, storing it at the back of the fridge, and using separate cutting boards for raw chicken can help minimize the risk of contamination. By knowing how long raw chicken can stay in the fridge and looking out for signs of spoilage, such as a foul smell, slimy texture, and discoloration, you can ensure that your chicken is safe to consume. Properly storing and handling raw chicken is crucial in keeping your kitchen free of bacterial contamination and preventing foodborne illnesses.
How Long Can Raw Chicken Be In The Fridge?
Raw is a great source of protein and a popular ingredient in many dishes. But how long can this popular poultry be stored in the refrigerator before it goes bad? According to the Cold Food Storage Chart, raw chicken can be kept in the fridge for one to two days. However, Novella Lui, a registered dietitian and health writer, advises that “to extend its shelf life, raw chicken should be stored at or below 40 degrees in a covered container or wrapped tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap before placing it in the fridge.”
While it’s generally safe to keep the raw chicken in the fridge for up to seven days if it has been properly stored, it’s best to cook it or freeze it within one to two days of purchase to avoid the risk of foodborne illnesses caused by bacterial growth. Novella also recommends keeping raw chicken away from other foods to prevent cross-contamination.
Use your senses if you’re unsure whether raw chicken is still safe to eat. Spoiled chicken gives off a foul odor, appears shiny and slimy, and can lose its pinkish hue, appearing gray or green and yellow. Additionally, poultry that has been in the fridge for longer than two hours at room temperature should be discarded to prevent foodborne illnesses. To minimize the risk of contamination, always handle raw chicken with care and cook it thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165°F.
Can Raw Chicken Stay In The Fridge For 7 Days?
Raw chicken can be found in many fridges as it is a staple ingredient in many meals. However, knowing how long to keep raw chicken in the fridge can be challenging and whether it is still safe to eat can be challenging. According to the USDA, raw chicken can be stored in the fridge for one to two days. If properly stored at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping raw chicken in the fridge for up to 7 days can be safe. However, it is important to ensure the chicken is properly wrapped and kept on the bottom shelf to prevent contamination.
To ensure maximum freshness and safety, cooking or freezing raw chicken within a day or two of purchasing it is recommended. If you plan to freeze the chicken, make sure to do so within a couple of days after purchasing it, as freezing will help extend its shelf-life.
It is important to note that consuming raw chicken that has been in the fridge for more than seven days can be dangerous and lead to foodborne illnesses. Bacteria can grow quickly on raw chicken, so it is crucial to practice food safety when storing and preparing it. Always check for signs of spoilage, such as a foul odor, slimy texture, and a change in color, before consuming raw chicken, and if in doubt, discard it. Finally, Cooked chicken should be consumed within four days for optimal freshness and taste.
What Are The Signs That Raw Chicken Has Gone Bad?
Knowing when the raw chicken has gone bad is crucial to avoid any potential risk of food poisoning. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Color: Fresh raw chicken should be pink in color with white fatty pieces. This is a sign of spoilage if the flesh is gray or green. However, mild color changes are normal.
- Smell: Fresh chicken should have a very mild smell or none at all. It has gone bad if your chicken has a sour or sulfur-like smell similar to rotten eggs.
- Texture: Fresh raw chicken has a glossy, somewhat soft texture. If your hands have a slimy residue after touching raw chicken, or if the chicken feels slimy and sticky, it hasn’t gone well. Cooked chicken that has gone bad will usually be overly soft and slimy.
- Expiration date: Check for the sell-by date on the package. If you’re past the date, it’s better to toss it rather than risk consuming it and getting sick.
Always cook the chicken to a proper internal temperature of 165 degrees F, and store raw chicken in the fridge at below 40 degrees F to prevent bacterial growth. When in doubt, throw it out!
How Can You Properly Store Raw Chicken To Minimize Risk?
Proper storage of raw chicken is crucial to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses. Following these tips, you can keep your chicken fresh and safe.
- Keep chicken cold: Stored raw chicken at or below 40°F to slow down bacterial growth.
“Stopping bacteria growth by keeping raw chicken at the right temperature is crucial. It’s best to put the chicken in a fridge (40°F or below) or a cooler with ice packs to maintain a safe temperature during transport,” advises medical reviewer DJ Mazzoni.
- Separate raw chicken from ready-to-eat foods: To avoid cross-contamination, store raw chicken on the fridge’s bottom shelf or in a container with a lid.
“Raw chicken should not be stored above ready-to-eat foods because it can drip and transfer bacteria,” warns Kimberly Baker, Ph.D., director of the Clemson University Extension Food Systems and Safety Program Team.
- Use or freeze chicken within 1-2 days: Fresh chicken can spoil quickly if stored for too long. If you don’t plan on using it soon, freeze it to extend its shelf life.
“To store raw chicken after opening, double-wrap each individual piece in foil and freeze it,” recommends food and lifestyle journalist Taylor Tobin.
- Label and date your chicken: Label and date your chicken before storing it in the fridge or freezer. This will help you keep track of its freshness.
By following these simple tips, you can safely store your chicken and reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. Remember always to wash your hands and surfaces that come into contact with raw chicken to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
Tips For Safely Cooking Raw Chicken
Cooking raw chicken can be daunting, but with a few tips, you can make sure you do it safely and deliciously. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind:
- Always wash your hands and utensils before and after handling raw chicken to prevent the spread of bacteria.
- Don’t thaw chicken at room temperature or in hot water. Instead, thaw it in the fridge or microwave.
- Cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill any potential bacteria. Use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy.
- Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw chicken separate from other foods, especially ready-to-eat items like fruits and vegetables.
- Always marinate raw chicken in the fridge, not on the counter, and discard any leftover marinade that has come into contact with raw chicken.
- Don’t use color as an indicator of doneness. Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.
- Let cooked chicken rest for at least 3 minutes before cutting to prevent juices from escaping.
- Store any leftover cooked chicken in an airtight container in the fridge and use it within four days.
As the USDA says, “Cooking doesn’t have to be hard, but it does have to be safe.” So follow these tips, and you’ll be sure to have a safe and delicious meal!
Will Cooking Chicken Kill The Bacteria?
Cooking chicken can help kill bacteria, including Salmonella and Campylobacter, which are commonly found in raw chicken. This is because cooking raises the temperature of the chicken to a level that is hot enough to kill most bacteria. According to the USDA, the chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present (1).
However, cooking may not always kill all bacteria present in the chicken, especially if it has been left in the fridge for too long. As mentioned earlier, the longer raw chicken sits in the fridge, the greater the chance that bacteria will have time to grow and multiply. Cooking chicken left for too long in the fridge may not be enough to kill all the developed bacteria.
Another factor to consider is whether the chicken was handled properly before cooking. Contamination can occur at any point during chicken handling, processing, and packaging. Additionally, cross-contamination can happen if utensils and surfaces used for raw chicken are not properly cleaned and sanitized before being used for cooked chicken or other foods.
To ensure that chicken is safe to eat, following proper food handling and cooking practices is crucial. This includes keeping raw chicken separate from other foods, refrigerating chicken promptly, cooking chicken to the proper temperature, and cleaning utensils and surfaces thoroughly before and after use (2).
To sum up, cooking chicken can help kill most bacteria that may be present if the chicken is cooked to the proper temperature. However, following proper food handling and cooking practices is essential to reduce the risk of contracting a foodborne illness.
How To Use Up Cooked Chicken?
Cook chicken can be a versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide range of dishes, allowing you to make the most of your leftovers and avoid food waste. Here are some tips on how to use up cooked chicken:
1. Freeze It: If you’re not planning on using your cooked chicken within a few days, consider freezing it to prevent it from going bad. You can freeze cooked chicken for up to a year but try to use it up within a few months to prevent freezer burn.
2. Make Sandwiches: Sandwiches are a quick and easy way to use up cooked chicken. You can chop it up to make chicken salad or slice it for a classic chicken sandwich.
3. Salads: Cooked chicken can add a great flavor and protein boost to salads. Try tossing it with greens and your favorite toppings for a nutritious and satisfying meal.
4. Soups and Stews: Chicken is a great addition to hearty stews and soups. Shred it up and add it to your favorite recipe for a filling and flavorful meal.
5. Casseroles: Casseroles are a great way to use up a variety of leftovers, including cooked chicken. Try making a classic chicken and rice casserole or a comforting chicken pot pie.
Always check your cooked chicken for signs of spoilage before consuming it if it has a slimy texture, an off smell or taste, or a yellowish or greenish cast. By using your cooked chicken creatively, you can save money and reduce food waste while enjoying delicious meals.
Q: How long can raw chicken stay in the fridge?
A: According to the Cold Food Storage Chart, raw chicken lasts between one to two days in the fridge. It is best to use it within this timeframe to avoid any danger of getting sick from consuming spoiled meat.
Q: What are the signs that raw chicken has gone bad?
A: Trust your senses. Spoiled chicken has a foul smell and may appear shiny and slimy. The meat may also appear gray or even green and yellow. Sometimes you may spot mold growing on the flesh. Feel the meat’s texture. Chicken that has gone bad may feel stiff, especially when you apply pressure, producing an indent where the meat does not bounce back to its original shape.
Q: What do the dates on the packaging mean?
A: The pack date is used to identify and track poultry in the event of outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, while the best, if used by date, is for quality assurance purposes. From a food safety perspective, raw chicken in the fridge has a short shelf life and is best if used within one to two days of purchase, regardless of the best used-by date.
Q: How should I store raw chicken?
A: Keep raw chicken in its original packaging and only open it when you’re ready to cook it. Putting the package of raw chicken into a disposable bag will help keep the juices from contaminating your other groceries.
Q: Should I go by the sell-by date?
A: The sell-by date isn’t in place to let you know how long the meat will stay fresh. Instead, it’s a guideline to remind the retailers how long a product has been on the shelf. Rely on the purchase date and your instincts more than any dates that might be stamped on the package.
Handling raw chicken with utmost care is essential to avoid contamination and foodborne illnesses. Here are some final thoughts to keep in mind:
- Always check raw chicken’s expiration date, smell, texture, and discoloration before consuming it.
- Store raw chicken in the fridge for no longer than two days, and only take it out when you’re ready to use it immediately.
- Cooked chicken can last up to four days in the fridge, while uncooked chicken lasts only one to two days.
- Avoid letting raw chicken sit on the counter for more than two hours.
- Keep raw chicken away from other foods in the fridge, and avoid cross-contamination at all times.
- When buying raw chicken, choose light pink-colored flesh and be mindful of the pack date and best if used by dates listed on the packaging.
As Novella Lui, a registered dietitian and nutrition and health writer, advises, “When it comes to keeping your raw chicken fresh, you really can never be too careful.” Taking the necessary precautions can help ensure that you and your loved ones stay healthy and avoid any unwanted food-related illnesses. So, make sure to follow the tips and tricks shared above while handling raw chicken and enjoy your meals with confidence.
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