How to Tell If the Raw Chicken in Your Fridge Is Bad

How many times have you bought chicken breasts, thighs, or cutlets from the grocery store for a recipe you planned on making that night but instead, you ended up ordering take-out and stowed the raw meat into the depths of your refrigerator? We’ve all done it and we’re not here to judge you. However, there’s something you should be mindful of after you decide to save that pre-cut chicken for a later date, and that’s whether it’s still fresh after sitting in your fridge for sometime. And that brings up the real question: do you know how to tell if chicken is bad?

We consulted head chef at HelloFresh, Claudia Sidoti, for the lowdown on how to check if your chicken is still good to eat or if it’s time to toss it out. This is important to learn, seeing as some 48 million people, or about 1 in 6 Americans, are sickened from a foodborne illness every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Salmonella, the pathogen that’s found in uncooked eggs and poultry, is the second leading pathogen to cause domestically acquired (food made in your home) foodborne illness.

What are the tell-tale signs that raw chicken has gone bad?

There are three easy ways you can immediately check to see if your chicken has peaked far past it’s prime. First, Sidoti advises looking for a change in color.

“Fresh, raw chicken should have a pink, fleshy color. As it starts to go bad, the color fades to a shade of grey. If the color starts to look duller, you should use it immediately,” she says. However, once the meat begins to look grey, then it’s time to toss out that chicken.

Second, Sidoti says to trust your nose. “Raw chicken that has gone bad has a very potent odor. Sometimes it can be described as a sour smell. If the chicken has taken on an odor of any sort, it’s safest to toss it,” she explains.

Thirdly, the chef instructs to feel the meat. That’s right, just get right in there and touch it to determine if it’s unsafe to eat. “Raw chicken naturally has a glossy, slimy texture. However, if the slime remains after rinsing under water, it likely went bad,” she says.

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