An Easy Guide: Cooking and Handling Chicken Safety Tips
This post has been sponsored by The Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Nearly every Sunday, my family gathers around the dinner table for a delicious roast chicken and all the fixings that hits the comfort food sweet spot. Chicken is not only versatile, but it’s also my go-to when I want to stretch the week out for meal planning and it starts with proper handling. This Easy Guide for Cooking and Handling Chicken Safety Tips will help ensure your family enjoys safe and tasty meals throughout the week.
With Salmonella and Campylobacter being the leading causes of bacterial food-borne illness (food poisoning) in Canada, it’s extremely important that you handle raw poultry safely. Did you know that in in 2015, there were over 230,000 illnesses from these bacteria, both of which can be found on raw chicken?
Below are some easy to follow chicken safety tips on how to prepare, clean, and cook your chicken to ensure you and your family lower your risk of contracting a food-borne illness.
Chicken Safety Tips to Keep your Family Safe
- Separate – When purchasing raw meat, ensure you use the following chicken safety tips and keep meats separate and bagged to prevent cross-contamination on surfaces of other foods in your cart.
- Packaging – When separating bulk packages of chicken, use a clean cutting board between preparing other raw meats. Plastic cutting boards can be sanitized in the dishwasher. Store raw chicken in meal portion sizes you know will be cooked, versus thawing too much raw chicken.
- Storing – Store raw poultry in sealed containers or bags to ensure juices will not leak onto other surfaces or foods. Fresh chicken pieces can be kept for 2 – 3 days or ground chicken used within 1 day in the refrigerator. For quality, raw chicken pieces can be kept in the freezer up to six months and whole chicken up to a year.
- Do not rinse – Rinsing raw poultry can spread bacteria wherever the water splashes.
- Shopping – Purchase raw meat near the end of your grocery shopping right before heading home and use an insulated bag with an ice pack to store until you get home.
- Thaw & Chill – Poultry should be kept cold and refrigerated or placed in the freezer within 2 hours of purchasing. Thaw chicken in a sealed container either in the microwave, the refrigerator overnight or in a cold-water bath, replacing cold water every 30 minutes.
- Wash Hands – Use proper hand washing techniques, and always wash before and after handling raw chicken.
- Clean Surfaces – Clean kitchen counters or surfaces with a sanitizing kitchen cleaner or bleach solution to ensure surfaces are clear of bacteria. Throw away paper towels or replace dish clothes used to wipe surfaces where raw chicken may have come in contact, as you use them. Dish clothes should be replaced daily and washed on a sanitize cycle.
- Use Separate Serving Plates and Utensils – Never re-use the same plates or utensils used for handling raw and cooked chicken. Cross-contamination can easily spread bacteria and cause illness in those consuming the cooked chicken.
- Reserve Marinade – If you are planning to baste your chicken after it’s marinated, reserve some of the marinade at the beginning before the raw poultry has been added to avoid spreading bacteria and risking illness to those consuming the chicken. Discard any leftover marinade the raw meat poultry was sitting in.
- Cook at a High Temperature – Cooking chicken at a high temperature will kill bacteria but it will not reduce the risk of illness from bacteria that have spread to surfaces or utensils when handling raw meat. Cook whole birds until the temperature of the thickest part of the breast or thigh are 82°C (180°F) and pieces of poultry reach 74°C (165°F).
- Keep it Hot – Serve your chicken hot out of the oven or when serving a large group, use a warming tray or slow cooker to be sure chicken stays hot.
- Leftovers – Remove leftover chicken from any bones and refrigerate leftovers in sealable containers within 2 hours. Use leftover refrigerated chicken within 2-4 days and reheat to an internal temperature of (165°F). Never reheat more than once.
Did you know: Both animals and people can be carriers of salmonellosis. This means they can be infected with Salmonella and spread the illness to others without showing any symptoms.
- Use this Cooking and Handling Chicken Safety Tips Guide as a quick reference guide in your kitchen.
- Get more food safety tips for all food types
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