Raw chicken can pose several hazards if it is not handled and cooked properly. Here are a few potential hazards to consider:
Raw chicken can harbor harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, which can cause food poisoning if the chicken is not cooked to a safe internal temperature.
Raw chicken can easily contaminate other foods and surfaces if it is not handled properly. To avoid cross-contamination, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw chicken, and use separate cutting boards, utensils, and surfaces for raw chicken and other foods.
However, these dangers are for raw chicken in general.
We’ve all probably done it before. Sat frozen chicken on the counter to thaw, only to realize too late that it may have sat out for way too long. What happens if the raw chicken is left out too long? How long is too long?
What Are The Best Ways to Thaw Raw Chicken?
There are several good ways to thaw frozen raw chicken safely and efficiently:
Refrigerator thawing: This is the safest and most effective way to thaw chicken. To thaw chicken in the refrigerator, simply place it in a covered container and leave it in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. The amount of time it will take to thaw the chicken will depend on the size of the pieces and the temperature of your refrigerator.
Cold water thawing: To thaw chicken using cold water, place the frozen chicken in a leak-proof bag and submerge it in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure that it stays cold. The chicken should thaw within a few hours, depending on the size of the pieces.
Microwave thawing: To thaw chicken in the microwave, place the frozen chicken in a microwave-safe dish and microwave it on the “defrost” setting for a few minutes. The time it takes to thaw the chicken will depend on the size of the pieces and the power of your microwave. Be sure to cook the chicken immediately after thawing it in the microwave, as some areas may begin to cook during the defrosting process.
It is important to note that thawed raw chicken should be cooked within a few days, as bacteria can begin to grow on the thawed chicken if it is not used promptly. To reduce the risk of food poisoning, be sure to handle thawed raw chicken safely, washing your hands and surfaces thoroughly after handling it.
How Long Can You Store Raw Chicken in the Refrigerator?
Raw chicken should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a few days to reduce the risk of food poisoning. Here are a few general guidelines for storing raw chicken in the refrigerator:
- Whole chicken: A whole raw chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
- Chicken pieces: Raw chicken pieces (such as breasts, thighs, or legs) can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- Ground chicken: Raw ground chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
It is important to note that these guidelines are for raw chicken that has been stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F or below. If the chicken is not stored at the correct temperature, it can spoil more quickly. To ensure that your raw chicken stays fresh, be sure to store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator (usually the back of the bottom shelf) and use it within the recommended time frame.
It is also a good idea to store raw chicken in a covered container or wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent it from contaminating other foods in the refrigerator. Be sure to wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces thoroughly after handling raw chicken to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
How Long Can Raw Chicken Sit on the Counter?
Raw chicken should not be left at room temperature for an extended period of time, as this can increase the risk of food poisoning. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), raw chicken should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F or below and should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
However, if the room’s temperature is above 90°F, the USDA recommends discarding the chicken after just 1 hour at room temperature. This is because bacteria can grow rapidly at higher temperatures, and the risk of food poisoning increases as the length of time the chicken is left at room temperature increases.
Does Cooking Chicken Kill All Bacteria?
may be present on the surface of the chicken. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends cooking whole chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F and ground chicken to an internal temperature of 160°F. These temperatures are high enough to kill harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, that can cause food poisoning.
However, it should be noted that its not just the presence of harmful bacteria that can make you sick. The bad smell we all associate with “spoiled meat” are a result of the excretions and byproducts of bacteria.
These byproducts are sometimes toxic, and are not able to be “cooked out”. The heat from cooking kills bacteria, but it does not get rid of the harmful toxins that the bacteria may have left behind.