How Long Is Chicken Good For After The Sell By Date

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Did you know that the average American throws away about 30% of the food they purchase? That’s a staggering amount of wasted food, including chicken that may still be good after its sell-by date.

In this article, we will explore the factors that affect chicken shelf life, help you understand sell-by dates, and provide tips on how to properly store and handle chicken to ensure safe consumption.

Don’t let those sell-by dates fool you – there’s still plenty of life left in that chicken!

Key Takeaways

  • Sell-by dates are not expiration dates, but guidelines for retailers.
  • Many foods are safe to eat after the sell-by date if stored properly.
  • Understanding sell-by dates reduces unnecessary food waste.
  • Knowledge of sell-by dates helps make informed decisions.

Factors Affecting Chicken Shelf Life

One of the factors that affects chicken shelf life is how you store it. Proper chicken storage is crucial in maintaining its quality and safety.

The temperature at which you store chicken has a significant impact on its shelf life. It is recommended to store raw chicken in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below. This low temperature slows down the growth of bacteria, reducing the risk of spoilage. Avoid storing chicken at room temperature or above, as higher temperatures can promote bacterial growth and shorten its shelf life.

Additionally, ensure that the chicken is properly sealed or wrapped to prevent cross-contamination with other foods. By following these storage guidelines, you can extend the freshness and safety of your chicken.

Understanding Sell-By Dates

Understanding sell-by dates can help you determine the freshness of food.

However, there are some common misconceptions about sell-by dates that can lead to unnecessary food waste.

Contrary to popular belief, sell-by dates are not expiration dates. They are simply a guideline for retailers to know how long to display the product for sale.

It is important to note that many foods are still safe to eat even after the sell-by date has passed, as long as they have been stored properly.

By understanding sell-by dates and their role in food waste reduction, you can make more informed decisions about the safety and freshness of your food.

This knowledge can help reduce unnecessary waste and save you money in the long run.

Signs of Spoiled Chicken

Knowing the signs of spoiled chicken can help you avoid consuming unsafe food. When it comes to chicken, two major indicators of spoilage are an off-putting smell and a slimy texture.

If you notice a strong, foul odor coming from your chicken, it is a clear sign that it has gone bad. The smell may be similar to ammonia or sulfur.

Additionally, if the chicken feels slimy or sticky to the touch, it is a definite red flag. Spoiled chicken can also have a grayish color or appear discolored in certain areas.

It is crucial to trust your senses and not consume chicken that exhibits these signs. Remember, consuming spoiled chicken can lead to food poisoning and other health risks, so always prioritize your safety and discard any questionable chicken.

Proper Storage and Handling

If you want to keep your chicken fresh and safe to eat, it’s important to store and handle it properly. Here are some safe handling and storage guidelines to follow:

  • Keep chicken refrigerated at or below 40°F (4°C) to prevent bacteria growth.
  • Store chicken on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent any potential cross-contamination with other foods.
  • Use or freeze chicken within 1-2 days of purchase to ensure optimal freshness.
  • When thawing frozen chicken, do so in the refrigerator, under cold running water, or in the microwave using the defrost setting.
  • Cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to kill any harmful bacteria.

Tips for Safe Consumption

To ensure you stay healthy, it’s important to follow these simple tips for safely consuming chicken.

Safe handling is crucial to prevent foodborne illnesses. Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw chicken. Keep raw chicken separate from other foods to avoid cross-contamination.

It’s essential to cook chicken to the correct internal temperature to kill any harmful bacteria. Use a food thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Make sure to cook the chicken thoroughly, with no pink meat and clear juices. Avoid eating undercooked chicken as it can lead to food poisoning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I eat chicken past its sell-by date if it has been properly stored?

If you eat expired chicken that has been properly stored, there are health risks involved. Consuming expired chicken can lead to food poisoning and other illnesses. It is best to avoid eating chicken past its sell-by date.

How can I tell if chicken is spoiled even before the sell-by date?

Look out for these signs of spoiled chicken: a strong, unpleasant odor, slimy texture, and a change in color. Don’t risk it, even before the sell-by date. Trust your senses and discard any spoiled chicken.

What are the risks of consuming chicken that is past its sell-by date?

To safely handle expired chicken, it is crucial to understand the risks of consuming it. Consuming expired chicken can lead to foodborne illnesses like salmonella or E. coli. It’s best to avoid eating it to prevent any health complications.

Can I freeze chicken to extend its shelf life beyond the sell-by date?

Yes, you can freeze chicken to extend its shelf life beyond the sell-by date. Freezing chicken keeps it safe for consumption and can preserve its quality for several months.

Is it safe to consume chicken that has been cooked but not eaten before the sell-by date?

To ensure chicken safety, it is important to properly store cooked chicken. For example, if cooked chicken is left at room temperature for more than 2 hours, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria.


In conclusion, it is essential to understand the factors that affect the shelf life of chicken and how to properly store and handle it.

While the sell-by date provides a general guideline, it is not a strict indicator of spoilage. By using your senses and following proper storage practices, you can determine if chicken is still safe to consume.

For example, Sarah recently found chicken in her fridge a day past its sell-by date. She inspected it carefully, smelled no foul odor, and cooked it thoroughly, enjoying a delicious meal without any issues.

Remember, trust your instincts and prioritize food safety at all times.