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How to check if chicken is still edible

A few days ago, you took the chicken out from the freezer and threw it into the fridge to thaw it. But then you had something else to eat and you forgot about it. When you finally realize that the meat has been in the fridge for so long, you start wondering whether it’s still edible.

How to check if chicken is still edible
Photo: snowpea&bokchoi/Flickr.com

According to experts, the change in color and smell of meat are not the only signs that meat it is not fir for consumption. If you want to make sure you can still eat the chicken, you have to check other signs too.

About bacteria

Bacteria that develop in foods can be of two types. One of them spoils food, and the other one makes you sick. The first type is easier to detect, as the bacteria that infect the food produce very clear symptoms. The meat becomes slimy, and you will throw it out. However, if you cook or roast the meat instead, you are unlikely to become sick. A healthy person may feel some discomfort in the stomach, but no food poisoning will occur.

Unfortunately, however, there are no such clear signs of the presence of the bacteria that can really make one sick. This pathogen may also linger on freshly purchased meat that you just brought home from the store. According to the experts, therefore, it is only a myth that the odor, color and texture of meat are helpful in deciding whether it is edible or bad.

When you remove the packaging from the meat and sense a bad odor, this is a sign that microorganisms started multiplying on the meat and they emit gases. Salmonella and E. coli, however, don’t emit such odors, and these dangerous pathogens don’t alter the color or flavor of meat.

How to check if chicken is still edible
Photo: wikimedia.org

So our senses don’t protect us. Then what should we do?

We should be careful to bake or roast chicken at the right temperature. For poultry, the minimum temperature is 75 degrees Celsius, both for whole and minced meat.

If chicken is stored for several days, don’t keep it in the refrigerator but in the freezer, where the temperature is below 0 degrees. At this temperature, pathogens are not yet dead, but they don’t grow. Consume meat taken out of the freezer within 2 days. If left unused, the leftovers can still be returned to the freezer.

The main rule regarding chicken is that if you are not sure if it is edible, it is best not to risk a serious disease!