Food Safety and Handling Tips – Chicken
Chicken is a nutritious, healthy food – low in fat and cholesterol and an excellent source of protein. The benefits of chicken certainly stack up, yet there are some basic food safety guidelines that should be followed when preparing and cooking chicken.
Are you aware that by cutting corners on food handling at home you are putting yourself and your family at risk of food poisoning? Food safety guidelines aim to prevent the bacteria naturally present in most raw food from spreading and multiplying. The following simple tips can keep bacteria at bay:
- Keep hot food steaming hot
- Keep cold food refrigerated
- Cook food properly
- Separate raw and cooked foods
- Keep kitchen and utensils clean
- Wash hands with soap and dry thoroughly
- As raw meat juices may contain bacteria, prevent it spreading by using different utensils (chopping boards and knives) for preparing raw meat than those used for preparing other foods. Utensils used for foods, such as salads, which will not be cooked before being eaten, should be kept separate.
- Keep everything – hands, fridge, freezer and storage containers – clean, particularly during the food preparation process.
Don’t wash Raw Chicken!
Campylobacter (pronounced cam-pie-lo-bac-tor) is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. You can’t see it, smell it or even taste it on food, but if it affects you, you definitely won’t forget it. At its worst, it can kill you. One of the main ways to get and spread campylobacter poisoning is by touching raw chicken. In particular, washing raw chicken can spread campylobacter by splashing it onto work surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment.
Food Conservation – Refrigeration and Freezing
Most raw or cooked chicken can be stored safely in the fridge at 5°C or lower for 2–3 days – minced poultry for just one day.
Keep raw chicken away from other foods in the fridge AND during preparation, so raw chicken juices do not drip on to other food that will be eaten raw, such as fruits or vegetables.
If you are storing for more than 2–3 days, chicken products should be frozen. You can never go wrong preserving fresh chicken in a FreezerMate.
Tupperware FreezerMate. Click here to learn more >>
Freeze fresh chicken as soon as possible to maintain quality. Freezing in FreezerMate will help retain its freshness and nutrients. Make sure to label the container with the content and date it was frozen.
Thaw frozen chicken in the refrigerator, in cold water (changing every 30 minutes) or in the microwave. NEVER thaw chicken at room temperature.
The time needed to cook chicken depends upon the cut and size. Your chicken is thoroughly cooked when the chicken meat is no longer pink inside and the meat juices run clear.
You can use a food thermometer to check the temperature at the center of the thickest part of the meat. When it reaches 75 ºC, it is thoroughly cooked.