Ground chicken is a great alternative to other meats and a healthy option for those looking to reduce their red meat intake. However, like all perishable food items, ground chicken can spoil, and consuming it past its expiration date can lead to food poisoning. In this article, we will discuss how to tell if ground chicken is bad and how to prevent foodborne illness.
Understanding Ground Chicken
Ground chicken is made from the meat and skin of chicken and can be used in a variety of dishes, including burgers, meatballs, and tacos. When purchasing ground chicken, it is important to look for a bright pink color and a fresh smell. However, even if it looks and smells fine, ground chicken can still spoil if not stored properly or past its expiration date.
Signs of Spoiled Ground Chicken
There are several signs that ground chicken has gone bad, including:
1. Change in Color
Spoiled ground chicken will often turn grey or brown, indicating that it has oxidized and is no longer fresh.
2. Unpleasant Smell
If your ground chicken has a sour, rotten, or ammonia-like smell, it is likely spoiled and should be discarded.
3. Slimy Texture
Fresh ground chicken should have a smooth and slightly tacky texture. If it feels slimy or sticky, it may be spoiled.
4. Expiration Date
Always check the expiration date on your ground chicken package. If it has passed, it is safest to discard it.
To prevent ground chicken from spoiling, it is important to follow proper food safety practices. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Store Properly
Always store ground chicken in the refrigerator at 40°F or below. If you do not plan on using it within two days of purchase, freeze it instead.
2. Cook Thoroughly
Cook ground chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present.
3. Use Clean Surfaces
When handling ground chicken, be sure to use clean surfaces and utensils to avoid cross-contamination.
4. Wash Hands
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling ground chicken.
How long does ground chicken last in the refrigerator?
Ground chicken can last up to two days in the refrigerator.
Can I freeze ground chicken?
Yes, ground chicken can be frozen for up to six months.
Is it safe to eat ground chicken that has turned brown?
No, brown ground chicken is a sign of spoilage and should be discarded.
Can I cook ground chicken if it smells a little off?
No, if your ground chicken smells off, it is safest to discard it.
How do I know if ground chicken has been cooked to a safe temperature?
Use a meat thermometer to ensure that ground chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F.
In conclusion, it is important to know how to tell if ground chicken is bad to avoid foodborne illness. Always check for changes in color, smell, and texture and discard if it appears spoiled. Following proper food safety practices can also help prevent spoilage and ensure safe consumption.