Food that has gone off

How To Know If Chicken Has Gone Off

Sheetal B
By Sheetal B. Updated: January 16, 2017
How To Know If Chicken Has Gone Off

Modern packaging allows a longer shelf life for chicken to be safe for consumption, but it is still a meat product and prone to go spoilt with time so it’s best to consume it as fresh as possible. But how do you know whether a piece of chicken is still good to eat? What are the signs that chicken is starting to go off and that maybe you shouldn't eat it?

There are some quick checks you can do before you start preparing the chicken for your next meal. So here at Onehowto we have put together some easy tips for you to follow when in doubt.

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  1. Check The Packaging
  2. Tell if Chicken is Bad By the Color
  3. How to Tell if Chicken has Gone Bad By Smell
  4. Tell if Chicken is Bad by Touch
  5. Cooked Chicken Scenario

Check The Packaging

Always look at the “best by” date before using the chicken. If it is well within the date, it’s almost certainly safe to be eaten. The date of packaging and expiry dates are required by law to be available on all food items and strictly regulated so it’s a trustworthy way to check the freshness.

Of course once the chicken has left the store, its up to you to keep it refrigerated and in an airtight container.

Tell if Chicken is Bad By the Color

One easy way to check the freshness is to observe the color. If it is all pink, it is good to go. A not so fresh piece will have a tinge of grey; a sure shot sign of chicken gone bad.

How To Know If Chicken Has Gone Off - Tell if Chicken is Bad By the Color

How to Tell if Chicken has Gone Bad By Smell

Fresh chicken should not have any bad odor coming off it. It will have a “chickeny” smell, just like any meat, but this should not be a strong odor. Take comfort in the fact that you can easily recognize the smell of rotten chicken, It will be more much stronger and certainly not pleasant.

Tell if Chicken is Bad by Touch

Touch the chicken and if it feels slimy or sticky, it’s a clear sign of spoilage. Look for any liquidy discharge when you squeeze it. Oozing out some watery stuff is fine, but a mucus like discharge is a definite red flag.

Cooked Chicken Scenario

When you need to store cooked chicken for later use, take utmost care to store it in a proper way. It must be stored in an airtight container at a low temperature, refrigerated or ideally in a freezer. Cooked chicken lasts longer than its raw form. Before eating it again, check for any odors, mold on the chicken and or change in color. It must “look” good to eat.

Do not take chances when there are signs that chicken has gone off, as consumption of spoilt chicken can cause infections, food poisoning and dangers of more complex infections like E.coli. Check the production and expiry dates when buying, follow proper storage guidelines and check the freshness each time before consuming the chicken.

If you want to read similar articles to How To Know If Chicken Has Gone Off, we recommend you visit our Food & drink category.

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1 comment
rosemary turner
what happens if the chicken is slightly smelly but is cooked and then eaten. what problems can be produced within the person who ate it?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Rosemary,

Unfortunately, the result will be food poisoning due to bacteria present in the chicken. This will involve gastrointestinal symptoms, but will depend on the severity and type of bacteria present. If you start to feel ill, it may be a good idea to speak to a doctor.
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How To Know If Chicken Has Gone Off