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How to know if frozen chicken is bad

Updated April 17, 2017

Spoiled chicken is unsafe to eat and can contain harmful bacteria, such as E-coli and salomonella, which can cause food poisoning and even death. While storing food in the freezer keeps it safe for longer periods of time, it can still expire and become unsafe for consumption. Learning how to tell if frozen chicken has gone bad or expired is vital for your family´s health and safety.

Take frozen chicken out of fridge and unwrap it.

Smell the chicken and check for foul or unpleasant odours. If the chicken smells badly, do not eat it. Unpleasant smells are an indication of spoiled chicken.

Thaw the chicken in the refrigerator for two hours to two days depending on the size and cut. Whole chickens can take days to thaw while cut up pieces may only take a couple of hours.

Touch the thawed chicken and check for stickiness or tackiness. If the chicken feels sticky or tacky, it has most likely spoiled and is unsafe for consumption.

Look for changes in colour in the chicken. Fading or darkening is another sign that the chicken has gone bad.

Tip

Chicken can be safely stored in the freezer for nine months to one year. Always check expiration labels at the store and do not buy expired chicken. Cook chicken thoroughly to ensure that all unsafe bacteria are killed. Wrap chicken in aluminium foil and place in a freezer storage bag if you plan on freezing the chicken for longer than two months.

Warning

Clean all surfaces and utensils that come in contact with uncooked chicken to prevent cross-contamination. Spoiled or partially cooked chicken may contain harmful bacteria that can cause illness or death.

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About the Author

Based in Colorado, Gisela Chavez has been writing and editing since 2004. Her editorial experience ranges from editing technical documents to editing for “The Bloomsbury Review.” She earned a professional writing certificate from the University of Colorado, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish.