You are about to cook your refrigerated chicken, you realize that it is right on the limit with the expiration date and you have doubts about whether to cook it or not. There are a few indicators that give you the signs that your chicken has gone bad.
How long to refrigerate the chicken for?
Chicken in the refrigerator has a short shelf life, shorter than pork or beef. According to the chart in foodsafety.gov refrigerated chicken should not stay longer than two days in refrigeration, if you will not cook it in that period it is better to freeze it, where you can keep it whole for 1 year and for 9 months if it is in pieces.
If there is an expiration date on the manufacturer’s label, you can keep the birds fresh in the refrigerator until that date.
The date of expiration on the store label is not a storage recommendation for consumers, explains the United States Department of Agriculture.
Signs of a bad chicken
The high number of spoilage bacteria can cause meat or poultry to show the following signs:
- Get off Dark color.
- Develop an unpleasant smell.
- Have a viscous texture due to the high number of bacteria.
The slight sour odor is caused by spoilage bacteria that still grow at refrigeration temperatures, but are not salmonella or other disease-causing bacteria.
Difference between spoiled chicken and chicken contaminated with bacteria that make you sick
There are two types of bacteria families:
They cause a foodborne illness.
Pathogenic bacteria can grow rapidly in the “Danger Zone”, the temperature range between 40° F and 140° F (4.4° C and 60° C).
Usually, they do not affect the taste, smell, or appearance of food. It is difficult to tell that bacteria are present.
They cause food to spoil and develop unpleasant odors, tastes, and textures.
They can grow in cold temperatures, such as in the refrigerator. Over time, they cause food to develop or have bad tastes and odors. Most people would not choose to cook and eat spoiled food, but if they did, they probably wouldn’t get sick notes the USDA.
Refrigerate your 40° F chicken (4.4° C) this decreases (does not stop) the decaying bacteria growth and cooks in a day or two.
If you will not prepare the chicken in that period, it is better to freeze. Your raw chicken will be safe indefinitely in the freezer. Although the quality will be optimal if you consume it in a period of fewer than 12 months.
Cooked chicken can be frozen and consumed in a period of up to 4 months; stews or pieces covered with broth or sauce, 6 months; and chicken nuggets or empanadas, 1 to 3 months.
Avoid buying fresh, raw whole poultry that has been previously stuffed. Juices from raw meat that mix with the stuffing can cause bacteria to grow.
Whole, raw and frozen that have been previously stuffed are safe and must be cooked in their frozen state; do not defrost it first.