Delivering safe chicken meat products to Australian consumers is a key focus for the chicken industry.
Nearly all foods contain bacteria. Most of these bacteria are harmless. Some are an essential part of the production process such as in cheese. However, some bacteria strains such as Salmonella and Campylobacter can cause illness in humans if food is not handled correctly. All bacteria are destroyed if meat is cooked properly and raw and cooked foods aren’t contaminated with raw meat juices.
Food Safety FAQS
How long does chicken last in the fridge?
Cooked chicken should be used within two to three days, or one day if you are pregnant, immunocompromised or elderly. Freeze if more than two days’ storage is required.
How long does chicken last in the freezer?
From a safety point of view, you can store frozen meats for years; however, with time there will be a loss in nutrient value and quality.
How long does chicken take to cook?
Follow any cooking instructions on packaging. To check that chicken meat is properly cooked, ensure all internal and external parts of the chicken reach 75°C, and the juices run clear, not pink. A meat thermometer will enable you to check the temperature or use a skewer to pierce deeply through the thickest part of the meat and allow the juices to run so you can check the colour.
Is it safe to re-freeze chicken?
Yes. You can re-freeze chicken. Just make sure it was properly defrosted in the fridge (not the bench), and it hasn’t been longer than 24 hours since you defrosted it.
Should chicken meat be washed?
No. Do not wash raw chicken. Washing raw chicken before cooking it is likely to splash raw meat juices and any bacteria that may be present around the kitchen sink, bench top and utensils, and other raw foods, increasing the chance that you might get sick. Proper cooking will destroy all bacteria effectively.
Can I re-heat chicken?
Yes. You can re-heat chicken leftovers to at least 70°C for a minimum of 2 minutes.
How do I shop for chicken safely?
Select perishable foods at the end of your shop or if you’re not going straight home, keep meat in a chilled esky in the car. Check packaging for tears or broken seals, and don’t buy products that have been opened or damaged.
How do I store chicken?
Place raw meats on a lower shelf in the fridge. Wrap in plastic, and place on a tray or plate, or placed in a sealed container, to avoid meat juices dripping onto other food. Uncooked chicken meat should be stored in a refrigerator at below 5°C. If you plan to freeze the fresh meat, it’s best to do this immediately.
Cooked chicken should be stored in the fridge as soon as it has stopped steaming. Cooked chicken should be used within two to three days, or one day if you are pregnant, immunocompromised or elderly. Freeze if more than two days’ storage is required.
How do I prepare chicken safely?
Raw meat juices may contain bacteria, so use different utensils and chopping boards for preparing raw meat than those used for preparing other foods, and wash hands between handling raw and cooked foods.
After preparing raw meat, wash utensils, containers, cutting boards and kitchen surfaces with hot soapy water.
Change your sponge regularly and wash well after each use, or preferably use disposable paper towels for clean up.
How do I thaw chicken?
Thaw frozen chicken meat completely prior to cooking by placing in the refrigerator or defrosting in a microwave oven. Do not thaw chicken at room temperature as this will allow bacteria to multiply, and this could make you sick.
Why does chicken meat have bacteria like Salmonella?
Salmonella and Campylobacter are bacteria that are part of the normal microflora of the chicken gut, where they can live without affecting the chicken. However, some strains of Salmonella and Campylobacter can cause illness in humans.
Does cooking kill bacteria?
Any risk from bacteria is eliminated if meat is cooked properly and care is taken not to contaminate other cooked foods or those to be eaten raw, such as salad.
When does chicken go off?
Both raw and cooked chicken should be used within two to three days, or one day if you are pregnant, immunocompromised or elderly. Freeze if more than two days’ storage is required.