We've all been in a situation where we're on the fence about whether a package of chicken breasts from the fridge is still good to eat. And while we're all for avoiding sickness from consuming spoiled foods, no one wants to throw away money when you don't have to.
Luckily, there are a few signs that can help identify whether chicken is safe to eat or if it should be tossed in the trash. A good rule of thumb is fresh chicken that's been stored properly in the fridge should be cooked within two days of purchase, according to Foodsafety.gov. If you can't remember how long it's been in there, refer to the sell-by date on the package.
Before you start cooking, make sure your bird can pass these three tests.
① Is It Gray?
Chicken that has gone bad will start to turn gray, whereas fresh chicken is light pink. If you see any discoloration, it's safe to assume the chicken has gone bad and it should be thrown into the garbage. This goes without saying, but if anything has started to grow on the chicken, such as mold, it should also immediately be thrown out.
② Does It Stink?
Fresh chicken shouldn't have any type of bold odor. To get the most accurate results from your sniff test, take the package of chicken out of the fridge, let it sit for a few minutes then open the package instead of trying to smell the meat through the plastic.
③ Is It Slimy?
Using clean hands, touch the chicken to see if it's slimy or sticky. Chicken that is too slippery to hold should be thrown away. Make sure to wash your hands immediately afterward.
There are also harmful bacteria that can not be detected through our senses, so it's always smart to cook chicken to the proper internal temperature of 165 degrees. It's also good practice to use your best judgment if something seems dicey, because getting sick is not worth the risk.
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