Have you ever looked at the sell-by date on a package of chicken and wondered how long you can safely keep it in your refrigerator? If so, you’re not alone. Many people are unsure of how long chicken is good for after the sell-by date. In this article, we’ll explore the topic in detail and provide you with some essential information to help you keep your chicken safe to eat.
What is the sell-by date?
The sell-by date is a date stamped on a package of food that indicates the last day the store can sell the product. It is not a safety date, but rather a guide for retailers to know when to pull products from the shelves. This means that the product is still safe to eat for some time after the sell-by date has passed.
How long can you keep chicken after the sell-by date?
The length of time you can safely keep chicken after the sell-by date depends on several factors, including the type of chicken and how it has been stored. Here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Fresh chicken: If you have fresh chicken, it can be stored in the refrigerator for one to two days after the sell-by date. It’s important to note that this is only a general guideline, and you should always use your best judgment when deciding whether or not to eat the chicken.
- Cooked chicken: Cooked chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days after the sell-by date. If you have leftover cooked chicken, make sure to store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh.
- Frozen chicken: If you have frozen chicken, it can be stored for up to one year after the sell-by date. However, it’s important to note that the quality of the chicken may start to decline after six months.
How can you tell if chicken is still good after the sell-by date?
If you’re unsure whether chicken is still good after the sell-by date, there are several things you can look for. Here are some signs that your chicken may no longer be safe to eat:
- Odor: If your chicken has a strong, unpleasant odor, it’s a sign that it has started to spoil.
- Color: If your chicken has turned gray or has green or yellow spots, it’s a sign that it has started to spoil.
- Texture: If your chicken feels slimy or tacky to the touch, it’s a sign that it has started to spoil.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw the chicken away.
Tips for storing chicken
To ensure that your chicken stays fresh for as long as possible, it’s important to store it properly. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Refrigerate promptly: If you’re not going to use your chicken right away, make sure to refrigerate it promptly. Chicken should be refrigerated at 40┬░F or below.
- Store in an airtight container: To keep your chicken fresh, store it in an airtight container. This will help prevent bacteria from growing.
- Use a meat thermometer: When cooking chicken, make sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure that it has reached a safe internal temperature of 165┬░F.
In conclusion, chicken can be safely consumed after the sell-by date as long as it has been stored properly and shows no signs of spoilage. If you’re ever in doubt, it’s always best to throw the chicken away to avoid getting sick. By following the tips we’ve provided, you can ensure that your chicken stays fresh and safe to eat for as long as possible.