Important Food Safety Tips: How to Handle Poultry

While most of us understand why we should avoid raw chicken, with the holidays approaching and many of us preparing for friends and family, it’s a good time to review the dos and don’ts of handling raw poultry and proper food safety. Following these suggestions for properly preparing and cooking chicken can help prevent sickness for you and your family. Learn how to handle raw chicken securely and how to thaw frozen poultry safely.

1. Storage

Proper storage is the first step in ensuring that chicken is safe to consume.

Prevent leaking juices: Whether your raw chicken is transported directly from the supermarket bag to the refrigerator or from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost, store it in a disposable bag or food storage container that can be completely cleaned. This prevents raw chicken fluids from leaking onto other items or shelves in the refrigerator.

Always marinade or defrost poultry in the refrigerator. Always refrigerate poultry until ready to cook. You should also consider using separate tools or chicken processing equipment such as; a boning knife, cutting board, meat tenderizer, tongs, and etc. This helps prevent any cross-contamination that may occur.

2. Cleaning

Proper cleaning procedures are the most efficient method of preventing germs from entering the kitchen. Please adhere to these principles at home and teach them to your family to keep everyone safe from foodborne disease.

  • Hand-washing is recommended. Always wash your hands after interacting with pets or using the restroom.
  • Maintain a clean workspace. Before and after meal preparation, clean and sterilize counter surfaces, cutting boards, and utensils with a mild bleach solution.
  • Thoroughly clean your vegetables. Rinse fresh vegetables well under running water to remove dirt and residue. Certain fruit retains more dirt than others, so inspect it thoroughly to prevent grit in your dish.
  • Eliminate bruised regions. Bruised spots on vegetables might provide an ideal habitat for germs to grow. Before using, cut away damaged portions of fruit and vegetables.
  • Every night, clean out lunch boxes. If not maintained clean, lunch boxes and bags may harbor germs. Each night, wash them out to avoid contaminating sandwiches.
  • Remember that germs cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted, so keep your kitchen clean to keep it safe.

3. Avoid Rinsing Raw Chicken Before Cooking

Raw chicken flesh does not need to be cleaned before cooking; it should not be washed at all! Washing raw chicken exposes the kitchen to thicken liquids and associated pathogens through surfaces, cooked meals, and utensils. Modern chicken processing conditions and techniques guarantee that raw chicken flesh arrives at your house with the fewest possible pathogens, although some bacteria may still be present. Washing chicken increases the possibility of cross-contamination inside the kitchen, which is a significant factor in foodborne disease. It is critical to wash all objects that come into touch with raw foods, particularly your hands.

4. Cooking

All meats need different cooking times, but chicken should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F for chicken pieces and patties and 180°F for a whole chicken. If you are unable to get a thermometer, prick the chicken with a fork. It should easily dissolve in the mouth, and the fluids should stream clean. When sliced with a knife, the chicken should be completely pink. Maintain a heated temperature. When serving food buffet-style, always use a chafing dish, crockpot, or warming tray to keep it hot. Before serving, keep all soups, chili, and spicy dips boiling hot.

Utilize an accurate food thermometer. You cannot determine whether meat is fully cooked by looking at it, and the most accurate approach to prevent under- or overcooking your chicken is to use a digital instant-read thermometer. Insert the thermometer in various locations to guarantee equal cooking, and always wash your food thermometer with soap and water after each use.

When traveling, insulate. If you’re bringing hot food to a party or work, keep it hot until you leave and then protect it with an insulated thermal container. Take care not to leave the dish at room temperature for longer than one hour.


Everyone involved in the food chain has responsibility for food safety. We are dedicated to continuously improving our agricultural and production processes while maintaining a stable and safe food supply. At home, it’s simple to protect your health and that of your family.

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