Chicken food safety: the ultimate guide
When it comes to cooking, chicken is a tasty ingredient that sits at the heart of many delicious dishes, but how can you ensure that you’re handling this type of meat safely?
Chicken lies at the heart of so many tasty dishes – be it chicken korma, chicken parmesan, a Sunday roast, chicken kebab, chicken pie or a fajita dish. There’s no denying that this type of meat is diverse. We are a nation of chicken-lovers, consuming millions upon millions of chicken dishes every single year.
The good news is that, as well as being succulent and flavoursome, chicken actually has many health benefits when you cook it right, including being a great source of protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals.
However, failure to store and cook chicken properly can lead to foodborne illnesses. Here we take a look at how you can ensure the chicken you’re consuming is safe.
Supermarkets won’t store chicken that is not fit to eat, however, there are ways to check whether the meat will be tender or fresh. If the breast of the chicken is pliable to touch, the chicken is likely to be young and, therefore, the meat will be tender.
Contrary to popular belief, the colour of the chicken’s skin has no influence on whether the meat is fresh or nutritional.
Chicken must be refrigerated, otherwise it will be unsafe to eat within a matter of hours. Even when the chicken has been cooked, it is important to store it in the fridge. Raw chicken should be kept away from other meats to prevent the juices from leaking and contaminating other foods.
If you want to store your chicken for a long length of time, or if you’re buying in bulk, the best way to do so is to freeze it. This will, however, make the chicken less tender and juicy.
According to Chowhound, ground chicken can last up to three months in the freezer, while chicken pieces can last up to nine months. The best way to store chicken in the freezer is to separate each breast and wrap it in foil, plastic wrap or freezer paper.
Defrosting chicken is pretty straightforward. However, it is important to remember to not do this at room temperature as this meat is extremely susceptible to bacteria growth. The best way to defrost chicken is either in a microwave, in a fridge or in a bowl of cold water.
Cooked chicken should never be pink on the inside, should have only clear juices running from it and be hot enough for steam to be emerging from it. The best way to ensure your chicken is safe to eat is to measure the temperature with a thermometer. If the internal temperature of the chicken is 73.9°C (165°F), then it is safe to consume.