How To Tell If Raw Chicken Has Spoiled

Note these signs of spoilage when handling raw chicken.

IMAGE Pixabay/Siwon Lee

Food poisoning is not an illness to take lightly. Even the mildest form can make you violently sick! You can avoid getting food poisoning by recognizing the signs that the food you're about to prepare or even eat is no longer safe to eat. 

With chicken as well as other meats, you need to rely on your senses. Use them to identify the signs you need to look for when choosing and preparing chicken meat:  

1 Chicken meat has discolored spots. 

Chicken meat should be primarily pink with white. Chicken meat that no longer glistens with freshness or has a dull, grayish tinge to it is old. Any green, blue, or otherwise odd coloring for chicken meat should be thrown out immediately. Combined with any of the other identifying signs of spoilage, pale-looking chicken meat that is not pink is best thrown out and no longer consumed. 

2 There is a foul smell. 

There's a reason why our sense of smell is a strong indicator of spoilage. Anything that smells bad, especially in our food, is our warning that there is something wrong with it. If you detect a bad odor or even a slightly off smell from raw chicken that doesn't smell like it is right, you are probably right. A strong odor from chicken means it should be discarded immediately. A raw chicken smell should still smell somewhat fresh with no bad lingering odors. (You can remove this raw smell using this kitchen trick.)  

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If you are purchasing meat and the meat has a very clean, almost chemical, chlorine smell to it, this is a sign that it has been washed to preserve it and make it last longer. This is old meat and is best to look for fresher meat. 

If you cook chicken that didn't smell bad at the beginning but it now has a bad odor after being cooked, it might be best to discard this chicken and avoid eating it. It is better to be safe than sick, after all.  

Photo by Pixabay
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3 The meat feels more slimy than normal. 

All meat have a feel to it when being handled. Meat should be firm. There should be no slimy, sticky, or tacky texture to the meat. If the meat has developed any of these textures, check that it also doesn't have a foul odor. If it has both, its best to discard this meat. 

4 The chicken tastes bad after cooking.

If you heeded all the signs and still cooked the chicken, it should taste like chicken once cooked. If your "fresh chicken" was just a little bit off and wasn't offensive, you can still cook and eat the meat. That's because most harmful bacteria can be neutralized by cooking the meat properly, until 165 degrees F or about 74 degrees C for chicken. If, however, the cooked chicken still smells bad, has a chalky texture, and you went so far as to cook it anyway, if it doesn't taste right, throw out the chicken. 

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Save yourself the hospital trip (and its accompanying costs to your health and your wallet) and toss out the chicken before you get that far.  

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