As a grocery store shopper, chances are you have noticed that chicken in stores usually comes with an expiration date printed on it – but can you trust this date to be accurate?
Understand that the sell by date does not indicate an expiration date; rather, its effect depends on how your food is stored and consumed.
How to Read a Date on a Package of Chicken
Finding safe poultry to eat can be tricky when shopping, but paying attention to sell-by dates and knowing how long the chicken lasts after the sell-by date can help ensure that your meals remain deliciously fresh while preventing food poisoning or spoilage.
Addition of dates to packaged food products is a standard practice that helps consumers keep tabs on expiration dates, yet these dates aren’t always accurate. First off, it is important to understand that sell-by dates differ from expiration dates in that the former refers to how long an item should remain fresh on store shelves and be suitable for sale while the latter suggests how long products should remain at their best freshness levels on shelves.
Sell-by dates differ from expiration dates because the latter indicates when food begins to spoil while the former only refers to freshness of meat. Even after it has past its sell-by date, your chicken may still be safe to consume if stored correctly in your refrigerator and there are no indicators of spoilage such as an unpleasant odor or slimy texture.
Unless you plan on eating your chicken within one or two days of its sell-by date, it is crucial to discard it as this will prevent harmful bacteria from growing and potentially leading to illness or even death. Also remember to wash your hands after handling raw poultry and always cook chicken thoroughly prior to consumption.
Refrigerating at a cool temperature and using only clean utensils when cooking will also ensure your poultry stays fresher for longer. Raw poultry usually lasts two days past its sell-by date in the fridge while cooked dishes can typically last four or six months when stored tightly sealed and labeled in the freezer if sealed tightly and sealed tightly enough. If in doubt about how long your poultry will keep, contact your local health department for guidance or regulations regarding its lifespan.
What Does a Sell-By Date Mean?
Food retailers use sell-by dates as an indicator to inform employees how long food products can remain on store shelves without becoming unsafe to eat, unlike expiration dates which indicate when something will spoil. However, this does not indicate when chicken will go bad; sell-by dates differ from these two markers in that regard.
How long raw chicken lasts depends on several factors, including its freshness and storage conditions. On average, fresh poultry should stay edible up to two days past its sell-by date provided it’s stored properly in a cool and dark location; otherwise it will quickly go bad. Exposure to light or heat may lead to spoilage much sooner.
When it comes to chicken, the best way to tell whether or not it has gone bad is by inspecting its appearance, smell and texture. A fresh piece of raw chicken should be pink in color with firm flesh that feels firm under your fingers; any signs that it has changed hue, such as looking greyer or browner than before or taking on any green hue, it is time for discarding. Furthermore, any item which has gone stale usually gives off an offensive odor which accompanies its loss.
Food poisoning can occur from eating unfit chicken. When it does happen, its best to discard it immediately rather than risk becoming sick from its consumption and risk food poisoning.
Although many believe it to be unsafe to consume chicken after its sell-by date has passed, this isn’t necessarily the case. Cooked or frozen before this point will still be safe to consume as long as it was stored properly in the fridge – keeping it cold will help stop bacteria growth in its tracks! Furthermore, make sure you cook the chicken thoroughly prior to consuming as this will kill off any harmful organisms and ensure the safety of eating it.
How Long Can Chicken Be Safe to Eat After the Sell-By Date?
Chicken should generally remain safe to eat for several days after its sell-by date if stored properly, though any signs of spoilage must be closely monitored since spoiled poultry can lead to food poisoning and other unpleasant health consequences.
One of the telltale signs that chicken has gone bad is its unpleasant odor, which could indicate bacteria such as Salmonella, Yersinia or E coli growing within. If this occurs with any poultry product regardless of its expiration date.
Another effective way of determining whether chicken has exceeded its sell-by date is to inspect its color and texture. If it appears grayish in hue or has become soft or slimy, then it likely has passed its prime and should be avoided as soon as possible. Slimy texture often indicates meat that has gone bad, and you should steer clear from eating anything with such characteristics.
Always ensure that chicken is thoroughly cooked before consumption to kill any harmful bacteria and ensure its safety for consumption. If in doubt as to its safety, discard it immediately.
Tracking food dates can be confusing, particularly with perishable items like chicken. It is easy to forget a package in the fridge and before you know it, its sell-by date has passed. As a result, many people end up throwing away perfectly good food because they do not understand its safe consumption after this date has passed. By taking some time to learn about reading food dates you can avoid this situation and ensure your family remains free from food poisoning; knowing for instance that chicken can still be safely eaten up to two days past its sell by date helps plan meal planning more effectively while meeting all nutritional requirements of your family members.
Can You Cook Chicken After the Sell-By Date?
Finding it hard to know whether or not to purchase frozen chicken from your grocery store? Learning what a sell by date is and its difference from an expiration date can help guide your decisions and give you confidence when browsing this section of food.
A sell by date indicates how long retailers recommend keeping raw chicken on their shelves for inventory purposes; it doesn’t pertain to its safety; raw poultry should not be kept past its sell by date because its bacteria-laden carcass will quickly start spoiling, leading to possible food poisoning and health concerns.
Cook your chicken quickly after purchasing to keep it tasting good even after its sell by date has passed; just ensure to look out for any signs that it has gone bad, like an unpleasant odor or slimy coating before eating it.
Refrigerated chicken will typically last two days after its sell by date; when stored in the freezer it can last up to a year.
When purchasing chicken at the grocery store, it is ideal to do so within 24 hours or so of its sell by date to ensure its freshness and safety. While purchasing it after this date may still be edible, storing it immediately in the freezer would likely provide better results if planning to cook immediately after purchasing is recommended.
To prolong the shelf life of chicken in your refrigerator, it is a smart idea to wrap it in plastic or foil before refrigerating. This will prevent spills or condensation from damaging it during storage. Also labelling with its date of purchase provides easy reference on when it was last eaten – remember, though, to wait until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit before eating your meal or discard it completely!