We all go to the grocery store planning to use what we buy, maybe wanting to use a new recipe we saw. Then things just do not work out, like an emergency or someone showing up at our door with another suggestion. Later, we remember the forgotten chicken in the refrigerator and question if it is still safe to eat or if it went bad and should be tossed.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 48 million people get sick from foodborne illness per year. The pathogen Salmonella is most frequently found to cause home-acquired foodborne sickness. Use your senses, your eyes, nose, and fingers to check your chicken.
5. Look for Changes in Color
Raw chicken should be pink and fleshy looking normally, if it is gray in color or has yellow dry spots, it is probably not good and best discarded. If chicken is cooked and is older than five days, even if refrigerated it more than likely needs to be tossed due to possible bacterial growth.
4. The Sniff Test
If your chicken is bad, the smell will be off; maybe with a potent, sour smell or an ammonia-like aroma. It could even smell like rotten eggs or a fishy aroma. Or it may start smelling off when you’re cooking the chicken. This means it is not good to eat.
3. The Feel or Touch Test
The texture of raw chicken can be harder to tell because chicken is normally wet and just slightly slimy to the touch, but as it gets older it will feel extra slimy or sticky. It could even get moldy, which looks like a black or greenish spot. Of course, you should not consume any chicken that feels like slimy goo!
2. Check the Dates
The USDA recommends you cook the raw chicken within one to two days of the date on your packaged chicken. The quality is not as good but is still usable; if it is longer than three days after the package date you should toss it.
1. Cooked or Frozen Chicken
If your cooked chicken is refrigerated, it’s best to eat it within three to four days. It is not recommended to keep it longer as it can get a rancid odor. If cooked, frozen chicken can last about three months. If the chicken is raw, it can stay frozen for up to nine to 12 months before use. Make sure your chicken is packaged and stays frozen properly.