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Food safety and chicken

Raw chicken and poultry can carry bacteria, which is responsible for more cases of food poisoning than any other pathogen.

Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid getting sick from chicken and poultry, as long as you follow safe food handling practices.

Thawing frozen chicken and poultry safely

The best way to thaw frozen poultry is in the refrigerator. Whole chickens may take up to 2 days to fully thaw in this way, while boneless breasts should thaw overnight. Once the product thaws, it should be kept in the refrigerator no more than a day before cooking it.

Cooking chicken and poultry

The best way to check whether your chicken is cooked properly is by using a food thermometer in the thickest part of the meat.

However, if you do not have one of these the general rule of thumb is to make sure the chicken meat is no longer pink inside and the meat juices run clear.

Top tip

Don’t rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking. Washing them makes it easier for bacteria to spread to areas around the sink and benches.

Another concern with respect to working with uncooked poultry is cross contamination. Cross contamination can happen when raw poultry or even just its juices somehow come into contact with any other food products but especially ones that are already cooked or ones that will be eaten raw, such as salad vegetables or greens.