Have you ever found yourself staring at a package of raw chicken and wondering if it’s still safe to eat? Maybe the sell-by date has come and gone, but the chicken looks and smells fine. Or perhaps you’ve forgotten about the chicken in the back of your fridge and you’re not sure how long it’s been there. Either way, it’s important to know how long does raw chicken last in the fridge after the sell-by date. Spoiled chicken can not only taste bad but can also make you sick.
Raw chicken can be stored in the fridge for up to two days after the sell-by date, as long as it’s been properly stored. That means putting it in the fridge or freezer within two hours of purchasing it and storing it in its original packaging or a tightly sealed container to prevent bacteria growth. Make sure your fridge is set to 40°F or below to prevent bacteria from thriving. Once cooked, chicken can last for an additional two to three days in the fridge.
It’s important to follow these guidelines to ensure your chicken stays fresh and safe to eat. If you’re not sure how long chicken has been in your fridge or if it’s showing signs of spoilage, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and throw it out. Don’t take any chances with your health – make sure you’re properly storing and monitoring your raw chicken.
What does the sell by date on raw chicken mean?
The sell by date on raw chicken is a date that indicates the last day that a store should sell the chicken. This is determined by the manufacturer of the chicken and is based on their estimation of how long the chicken will be at peak freshness. The sell by date is not an indication of how long the chicken will remain safe to eat.
- The sell by date is not the same as the expiration date.
- Expiration dates are used for products that may become unsafe to eat after a certain date.
- The sell by date is simply used to help stores manage their inventory.
Consumers should always pay attention to the sell by date and use it as a guideline for when to purchase the chicken. It is also important to make sure that the chicken is stored properly after purchase to ensure that it remains safe to eat.
Is it Safe to Eat Raw Chicken After the Sell by Date?
When it comes to consuming raw chicken, it is of utmost importance to adhere to stringent food safety guidelines. The sell-by date stamped on poultry packaging is a crucial indicator of the product’s freshness and quality. However, it does not necessarily mean that the raw chicken is no longer safe for consumption after this date has passed. In fact, raw chicken can last up to two days beyond the sell-by date in the refrigerator, provided it is stored correctly.
- Use your senses: Before cooking or serving raw chicken, always inspect it for any unusual odors or slime on the surface. These are significant warning signs that the chicken is off and not fit for human consumption.
- Check for color and texture: Fresh chicken should look pinkish with a slightly translucent texture. However, if it appears grayish, it could indicate that it has gone bad, and you should discard it immediately.
- Follow proper storage techniques: Proper storage techniques are imperative in maintaining the safety and freshness of raw chicken. Always store it in airtight containers or sealed bags to prevent it from coming into contact with other food items. Additionally, ensure that the refrigerator temperature is set between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit to keep the chicken safe from bacteria growth.
While eating raw chicken poses significant health risks, such as salmonella and Campylobacter infections, consuming chicken beyond its sell-by date can also pose some danger. It is crucial to take extra precautions and remain vigilant when handling and cooking older chicken to prevent foodborne illnesses. If you are in doubt about the freshness and safety of raw chicken, it is better to err on the side of caution and discard it.
|Symptoms of consumption of bad chicken|
|Vomiting and Nausea|
|Fever and Diarrhea|
|Abdominal cramps and Pain|
In conclusion, while raw chicken can last up to two days beyond its sell-by date in the refrigerator, it is vital to assess its safety before cooking or consuming it. Proper storage techniques, close attention to appearance and odor, and discerning judgment in determining freshness can go a long way in preventing foodborne illnesses and ensuring food safety.
How long can raw chicken last in the fridge before spoiling?
Raw chicken is one of the most versatile and widely consumed meats. It’s used in a variety of dishes and can be prepared in numerous ways. However, if not handled correctly, raw chicken can quickly spoil and lead to foodborne illnesses.
- The FDA recommends that raw chicken should only be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days after the sell-by date. This applies to both store-bought and home-packed raw chicken.
- If the chicken has been properly stored, it can last up to 4 days in the refrigerator. It’s important to remember that the longer the chicken is stored, the greater the risk of spoilage and contamination.
- Freezing raw chicken is another option for those who want to extend its shelf life. If frozen at 0°F or below, raw chicken can last up to 9 months in the freezer.
If you’re not sure whether your raw chicken has gone bad, there are a few signs to look out for:
- Smell: Raw chicken that has gone bad will have a strong, rotten smell that is difficult to miss.
- Texture: Spoiled chicken will feel slimy or sticky to the touch and may have a greasy film on the surface.
- Color: Fresh raw chicken should be a pinkish color, while chicken that has gone bad may appear gray or yellow.
- Appearance: If the chicken has a lot of ice crystals or is frozen to the touch, it may have been in the freezer for too long and could be unsafe to eat.
How to properly store raw chicken in the fridge
When storing raw chicken in the fridge, it’s important to follow a few guidelines to ensure it stays fresh and safe to eat:
- Keep the chicken in its original packaging until you plan to use it. If the packaging has been damaged, rewrap the chicken in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- Store the chicken on the bottom shelf of the fridge, where it’s less likely to drip onto other foods.
- Make sure the fridge temperature is set to 40°F or below to prevent bacterial growth and spoilage.
- Avoid storing raw chicken near ready-to-eat foods like fruits and vegetables to prevent cross-contamination.
The danger of consuming spoiled raw chicken
Eating spoiled raw chicken can lead to foodborne illnesses like salmonella and campylobacter. These illnesses can cause severe symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, and can sometimes lead to hospitalization.
|Salmonella||Diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, headache, vomiting|
|Campylobacter||Diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting|
When cooking raw chicken, it’s important to properly handle and cook it to reduce the risk of illness. Always wash your hands, cutting boards, and utensils after handling raw chicken, and cook it to an internal temperature of 165°F.
By following the FDA guidelines for storing and handling raw chicken, you can safely enjoy this popular meat without putting your health at risk.
What are the signs that raw chicken has spoiled?
Raw chicken can be a breeding ground for bacteria, hence it is important to check if it has gone bad before cooking and consuming. The following are some signs that raw chicken has spoiled:
- Color and Texture: Visually inspect the chicken to check for any changes in color and texture. If the chicken appears grey in color instead of pink, it is best to discard it. Also, if the texture of the chicken feels sticky or slimy, it has gone bad.
- Smell: A strong and unpleasant odor coming from the chicken is a clear sign that it has gone bad. A fresh chicken should have a neutral scent, unlike a spoiled one that smells sour or ammonia-like.
- Mold: If you notice green or gray mold patches on the chicken, it is best to discard it. Maintaining a clean and dry environment in the fridge can prevent mold growth on the chicken.
Prevention of Chicken Spoilage
It is always better to prevent chicken spoilage rather than identifying it post-spoil. Here are some steps that you can take:
- Store chicken in the fridge as soon as possible, preferably below 40°F (4°C).
- Cook chicken to its recommended internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to kill any bacteria present.
- Use a separate cutting board and utensils when handling raw chicken to prevent cross-contamination.
- Consume chicken within two days of purchase or freeze it for later use.
Understanding the Sell-by Date
The sell-by date on a chicken package indicates the last date the store should sell it. However, it does not indicate the expiry date of the chicken; it can remain safe to consume for a few more days if stored properly. Always conduct the visual and smell tests before cooking the raw chicken.
|Raw Chicken Storage Guidelines||Temperature (°F)||Time|
|In the fridge||40°F or below||1-2 days|
|In the freezer||0°F or below||4-6 months|
In conclusion, always ensure that you store, handle and cook raw chicken properly to prevent any contamination or spoilage. If you are unsure about the quality of the chicken, it is best to err on the side of caution and discard it.
Can raw chicken be frozen to extend its shelf life?
If you have raw chicken that you know you won’t be able to use within a few days after the sell-by date, freezing it is a reliable way to extend its shelf life. When stored properly in the freezer, raw chicken can last for up to 12 months. However, it’s important to make sure the chicken is fresh when it’s frozen. Freezing chicken that has already been sitting in the fridge for several days will not extend its shelf life.
- Before freezing chicken, make sure it’s wrapped tightly so that air cannot get to it. Otherwise, it will develop freezer burn and the quality will deteriorate.
- If you plan to freeze the chicken for a long time, it’s best to wrap it in several layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
- Always label the chicken with the date you put it in the freezer so that you can keep track of how long it has been frozen.
It’s also important to note that freezing chicken can change its texture and flavor, so it’s not ideal for all recipes. For example, chicken that has been frozen and then thawed will not have the same texture as fresh chicken and may become dry when cooked. However, using frozen chicken in recipes with sauces or stews can be a good option.
If you’re planning to freeze chicken, make sure you do it as soon as possible after bringing it home from the grocery store. This will ensure that the chicken is as fresh as possible and will help to maintain its quality in the freezer.
|Freezing raw chicken: Dos and Don’ts|
|Do freeze chicken as soon as possible after purchasing it|
|Don’t freeze chicken that has already been sitting in the fridge for several days|
|Do wrap chicken tightly to prevent freezer burn|
|Don’t forget to label chicken with the date it was frozen|
By following these guidelines, you can safely freeze raw chicken and extend its shelf life. Whether you’re meal prepping for the week or stocking up on chicken when it’s on sale, freezing is an easy way to make sure you always have fresh chicken available when you need it.
How Long Can Frozen Raw Chicken Last?
Frozen raw chicken can last for a long time if it is stored properly. The main factor affecting the length of time that frozen raw chicken can last is the temperature at which it is stored. At a temperature of 0°F or below, frozen raw chicken can last indefinitely. However, after a certain point, the quality of the chicken may start to degrade.
Here are some guidelines to help you determine how long frozen raw chicken can last based on how it is stored:
- Frozen chicken in its original packaging can last for up to two months.
- If the chicken is repackaged in freezer-safe packaging or freezer wrap, it can last for up to nine months.
- Cooked chicken that has been frozen can last for up to six months.
It is important to note that while frozen raw chicken can last for a long time, the quality of the chicken may start to degrade after a certain point. To ensure that frozen chicken stays fresh and maintains its quality, it is important to store it properly and follow the guidelines outlined above.
|Storage Method||Max Length of Time|
|In original packaging||2 months|
|Repackaged in freezer-safe packaging or freezer wrap||9 months|
|Cooked chicken that has been frozen||6 months|
When storing frozen raw chicken, it is important to keep it at a temperature of 0°F or below to ensure that it stays fresh and safe to eat. If the chicken has been thawed, it should be cooked within two days to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your frozen raw chicken lasts as long as possible while staying safe and maintaining its quality.
How should raw chicken be stored in the fridge to prevent spoilage?
Proper storage of raw chicken in the refrigerator is essential to prevent bacterial growth and ensure its freshness. Here are some key tips to follow:
- Always wrap raw chicken in a moisture-proof packaging such as plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent cross-contamination with other foods. You can also use a resealable plastic bag specifically designed for storing raw meat.
- Store raw chicken on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator where it’s the coldest and least likely to drip onto other foods. This will also prevent any drippings from contaminating other items in the fridge.
- Make sure the temperature of your refrigerator is set at 40°F or below to slow down bacterial growth in raw chicken.
- Do not wash raw chicken before storing it in the fridge as this can lead to the spread of bacteria in your sink and cooking area.
- For optimal freshness, it’s recommended to use raw chicken within 1-2 days of purchase or before the sell-by date. Remember to always check the appearance, smell, and texture of the chicken before cooking or consuming it.
- If you don’t plan on using the raw chicken within 1-2 days, you can freeze it to extend its shelf life. Make sure to wrap the chicken properly before storing it in the freezer.
- After handling raw chicken, always clean your hands, utensils, and cutting board with hot water and soap to prevent the spread of bacteria.
Following these guidelines can help you store raw chicken safely in your refrigerator and reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Additionally, it’s important to always cook chicken to the correct internal temperature to further kill any bacteria.
Can marinating raw chicken help extend its shelf life?
Marinating raw chicken is a common practice among chefs and home cooks alike, not only to add flavor but also to tenderize the chicken and make it juicier. However, some people believe that marinating raw chicken can also help extend its shelf life, either by killing some of the bacteria or by creating a protective barrier that prevents the growth of new bacteria.
- Marinades typically contain acidic ingredients, such as vinegar, citrus juice, or wine, which can lower the pH of the chicken and make it more acidic. This acidity can help inhibit the growth of some bacteria, such as Salmonella or Campylobacter, although it may not kill them completely.
- Some marinades also contain salt, which can help draw out moisture from the chicken and create a less hospitable environment for bacteria to grow. Moreover, salt can act as a natural preservative and inhibit the growth of certain microorganisms.
- Other marinades may contain natural antimicrobial compounds, such as garlic, onion, ginger, or herbs, that can add flavor and also have antibacterial properties. These compounds can help inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi, although their effectiveness may vary depending on the concentration, duration, and type of ingredients used.
However, it’s important to note that marinating raw chicken alone may not be enough to guarantee its safety or freshness, especially if the chicken is already close to its sell-by date or if it has been mishandled or stored improperly. Marinades should also be prepared and used safely, by following these guidelines:
- Always marinate raw chicken in the fridge, not at room temperature, to prevent the growth of bacteria and ensure food safety.
- Never reuse marinade that has come into contact with raw chicken, as it may contain harmful bacteria that can contaminate other foods. If you want to use the marinade as a sauce or a glaze, make sure to boil it first for at least 1 minute to kill any bacteria.
- Discard any leftover marinade that hasn’t been used, as it may also contain harmful bacteria that have multiplied during the marinating process.
|Marinade ingredient||Concentration||Antimicrobial effect|
|Vinegar||5-10%||Inhibits growth of E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria|
|Citrus juice||20-30%||Inhibits growth of Salmonella, Campylobacter, Staphylococcus|
|Salt||2-5%||Inhibits growth of E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria|
|Garlic||2-5%||Inhibits growth of E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, Candida, Aspergillus|
|Ginger||2-5%||Inhibits growth of Salmonella, E. coli, Staphylococcus, Aspergillus|
|Oregano||0.5-1%||Inhibits growth of Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, Listeria|
Overall, marinating raw chicken can add flavor and texture to your dishes, as well as some potential benefits in terms of food safety. However, marinating should not be seen as a foolproof method of extending the shelf life of raw chicken or preventing foodborne illnesses. It’s always important to handle, store, and cook chicken properly, and to follow safe marinating practices to minimize the risk of contamination.
Should Raw Chicken Be Rinsed Before Cooking?
One of the oft-debated topics when it comes to cooking chicken is whether or not to rinse it before cooking. Some people swear by rinsing, while others believe it is unnecessary and even potentially dangerous. So, which is it?
First off, it’s important to note that rinsing raw chicken is not recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The reason for this is that rinsing can actually spread harmful bacteria found on the chicken to other surfaces in your kitchen, such as countertops and utensils. These bacteria can cause foodborne illness if ingested.
Another reason not to rinse raw chicken is that it is ineffective at removing bacteria from the surface of the meat. The only way to kill harmful bacteria is to cook chicken to the correct internal temperature (165°F).
The Best Practices for Handling Raw Chicken
- Always wash your hands and surfaces thoroughly with hot, soapy water before and after handling raw chicken.
- Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw chicken to avoid cross-contamination with other foods.
- Store raw chicken in the coldest part of the refrigerator (below 40°F) and use it within 1-2 days after purchase.
- Cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill any harmful bacteria.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within 2 hours of cooking.
The Bottom Line
Rinsing raw chicken is not recommended by the USDA because it can spread harmful bacteria and is ineffective at removing bacteria from the surface of the meat. Instead, follow these best practices for handling raw chicken to ensure the safety of your food.
Table: Safe Cooking Temperatures for Chicken
|Type of Chicken||Internal Temperature|
|Breasts, wings, legs, thighs, and whole chicken||165°F|
|Ground chicken or turkey||165°F|
To ensure that chicken is cooked to the correct internal temperature, use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
How can cross-contamination be avoided when handling raw chicken?
Cross-contamination is the transfer of harmful bacteria from one food item to another, which can lead to foodborne illness. Handling raw chicken requires extra caution to avoid cross-contamination. Here are some tips to minimize the risk:
- Designate a specific cutting board and utensils for use with raw chicken only, and thoroughly clean and sanitize them after use.
- Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw chicken.
- When storing raw chicken in the fridge, keep it in a leak-proof container or on a plate to prevent juices from dripping onto other foods.
- Separate raw chicken from other foods in your grocery cart and during food preparation.
- Cook raw chicken to the appropriate internal temperature to kill any harmful bacteria (165°F for chicken breasts, 170°F for whole chicken, and 180°F for thighs and wings).
- Avoid using the same tongs or spatula for raw and cooked chicken, or use separate ones and sanitize between uses.
- Consider using disposable gloves when handling raw chicken, and discard them immediately after use.
- Don’t rinse raw chicken before cooking, as this can actually increase the risk of cross-contamination by spreading bacteria to other surfaces.
- If marinading raw chicken, be sure to do it in the fridge and discard any leftover marinade that has come in contact with raw chicken.
The Bottom Line
Raw chicken can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria like Salmonella and Campylobacter, which can cause food poisoning if ingested. Avoiding cross-contamination is key to minimizing the risk of illness when handling raw chicken. By following these guidelines, you can help keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.
Table: Safe Internal Temperatures for Chicken
|Part of Chicken||Internal Temperature|
It’s important to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of chicken to ensure it’s reached a safe temperature for consumption. Cutting into the chicken to check for doneness can release juices and potentially spread bacteria.
FAQs: How Long Does Raw Chicken Last in the Fridge After Sell By Date?
Q: Can I still eat raw chicken after the sell by date?
A: It is not recommended to eat raw chicken after the sell by date. The sell by date indicates the last day the store can display the chicken, and it is recommended to consume or freeze the chicken by that date.
Q: How long can raw chicken last in the fridge after the sell by date?
A: Raw chicken can last 1-2 days in the fridge after the sell by date.
Q: Can I freeze raw chicken on or after the sell by date?
A: Yes, you can freeze raw chicken on or after the sell by date as long as it is still within the 1-2 day guideline mentioned above.
Q: How can I tell if the raw chicken has gone bad?
A: Signs of spoiled chicken include a sour or ammonia-like odor, a change in color (gray or greenish), and a slimy texture.
Q: Can cooking spoiled raw chicken make it safe to eat?
A: No, cooking spoiled raw chicken will not make it safe to eat. The bacteria that cause the spoilage can also cause food poisoning.
Q: How long can cooked chicken last in the fridge?
A: Cooked chicken can last 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
Q: Can I reheat cooked chicken that has been in the fridge for a few days?
A: Yes, you can reheat cooked chicken that has been in the fridge for a few days. Be sure to heat it to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to kill any bacteria.
Thanks for reading our FAQs on how long raw chicken lasts in the fridge after the sell by date. It’s crucial to follow safety guidelines when handling meat to avoid foodborne illness. If you have any more questions, feel free to visit our website again later for more helpful tips and advice. Stay safe and happy cooking!