Chicken is widely popular meat worldwide. Because of its proven nutritional components compared to red meat and its relatively lower price, people always find chicken the best deal.
However, the raw chicken’s shelf life depends on different factors like the process of preparation, storage, and, most significantly, its sell-by date. In this article write-up, we’ll discuss chicken’s sell-by-date and meaning. On top of that, we’ll dig deeper into how long chicken is good after sell-by-date.
What is the Meaning of Sell-by-Date on Chicken?
In the food industry, sell-by-date guides how long sellers display meats such as chicken for sale before their quality decreases. Thus, the sell-by date benefits the staff in the grocery store as it will allow them to know how long they can place chicken products in stock.
According to research, food products, in general, are safe to eat for up to ten days beyond their sell-by-date, given that they are correctly kept. In general, meat and poultry products like chicken contain sell-by-dates that consumers should observe.
To be sure, consumers should buy quality products available, including chicken. An excellent way to guarantee freshness is to purchase chicken food items before or on the sell-by-date day. As we can see, meat and poultry always include sell-by-dates. It will be helpful to check this before buying.
But the rule of thumb always says that if you do not plan to use chicken one to two days after purchasing it, you must immediately put it in the freezer.
How Long is Chicken Good After Its Sell-By-Date?
Chicken is good and remains safe to eat within two to three days past the sell-by date as long as you store it correctly. After that, the chicken will decrease in freshness and quality after each passing day. This decay scenario happens when bacteria and germs begin to grow.
Primarily, the sell-by-date labeled on the package of the whole raw chicken is mainly for the seller’s benefit. But you can still use this date to predict and know if the chicken is no longer suitable for consumption.
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends cooking or freezing the chicken within one to two days after you purchase it. The truth is the chicken is at its best quality before the sell-by-date. After that day, the bacteria will grow. If the chicken is after its sell-by-date for around two weeks or more, it would be best to dispose of it.
Always remember that you must toss the chicken in the trash bin once it gives off an off smell, develops a few patches, and feels slimy. Chicken can always go bad before its estimated life if stored incorrectly.
Is the Chicken Still Safe for Consumption After Sell-By-Date?
According to the FDA, refrigerated chicken is safe for consumption for about two to three days past the sell-by date. So, keep the chicken in the fridge immediately after buying it. It can still be safe for consumption even if the sell-by-date has already run out.
Raw chicken parts, such as wings, pieces, and breasts, can remain good if kept above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for one to two days in the refrigerator after purchase. This guideline applies even if the chicken is beyond its sell-by-date. You can also store the raw chicken in the freezer for up to nine months.
Can You Cook Chicken After the Sell-By-Date?
You can still cook the chicken within one or two days after its sell-by-date, provided you preserve it in a refrigerator. The chicken will still be fresh and good to eat since you kept it properly.
You can place the cooked chicken in the fridge for around four days. It will be helpful to wrap the chicken with plastic or inside a tight container.
Afterward, you can store the cooked chicken in the refrigerator. On top of that, you can keep cooked chicken such as chicken casserole and salads for four days.
How to Check for Signs of Chicken Spoilage After Sell-By-Date?
To check signs of chicken spoilage after sell-by-date, open the package. Once the chicken starts to foul, it’s a sure sign that it is spoiled. While the chicken has no scent or changes in its texture, it may still be unsafe to eat.
How Long is the Shelf-life of the Chicken?
As we mentioned, you can keep a raw or uncooked chicken in the refrigerator for two or three days beyond its sell-by-date, whether it is whole or not.
On the other hand, you can preserve the freshness of the chicken for up to three or four days in the fridge. However, once the chicken has been thawed, the quality and safety clock will start ticking.
Chicken’s Life in the Freezer
According to the guidelines provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, the chicken is safe for consumption for an indefinite time if you keep it in a freezer. At this point, the expiration date no longer matters.
To ensure the best quality, texture, and taste, the whole raw chicken can only last up to one year in the freezer. In addition, the different parts of the chicken are good for nine months. Also, you can keep any ground chicken for about three to four months.
Regarding cooked chicken, this will taste excellent if you preserve them in the freezer for four months. Further, cooked chicken casseroles filled with gravy or broth can last in the freezer for six months. Further, chicken nuggets can last from one to three months.
Chicken’s Life in the Refrigerator
The rule will be different if you place the chicken in the refrigerator. If you like to use the chicken immediately, you may not opt to put it in the freezer. It would be okay to store the raw chicken in whole or parts for around one to two days inside the refrigerator.
On the other hand, if you have cooked chicken leftovers, you can expect them to be suitable for consumption for up to three to four days.
To know more about how you can find the best way to store the chicken properly, here’s a quick overview of their shelf-life inside the refrigerator and freezer.
|Unopened Chicken||Fridge (Past Printed Date)||Freezer (Past Printed Date)|
|Fresh Chicken||One to Two Days||One Year|
|Cooked Chicken||Three to Four Days||One Year|
|Roasted Chicken||Seven Days||Six to Eight Months|
What is the Best Way to Extend the Life of the Chicken?
It is no lie that everybody loves chicken. Chicken is the ultimate go-to food in many households across the globe. There are a lot of chicken recipes we enjoy, such as deep-fried, creamy chicken, roast chicken, and chicken wings.
However, while it is delicious food and a healthy source of protein, chicken is one of the problematic foods to handle. It’s hard to preserve chicken because of its high risk of bacteria accumulation and contamination.
So, it is a golden rule that once you bring home your freshly uncooked chicken, be sure to put it inside the refrigerator or freezer.
Raw chicken should not be left on the kitchen counter since any temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit is recognized as a danger zone. When placed for an extended period, bacteria will grow.
Storage Tips for Chicken
To help you, here are tips on how some suggestions are to keep your fresh chicken properly.
- Do not let the chicken on your kitchen counter.Any chicken products placed on the counter for two hours or more at thirty-two degrees Celsius must be disposed of for safety.
- If you do not use the chicken two to three days after the purchase date, store it in the freezer.In doing this, utilizing a freezer or high-quality plastic bag will be best to avoid freeze injury. Also, no air should come and stay inside the bag. The chicken will remain fresh for at least nine months to one year when stored correctly.
- Always put the chicken inside the fridge after buying it.Stable storage like a refrigerator prevents the accumulation and growth of bacteria. On top of that, the USDA recommends double wrapping the chicken with plastic.
How to Tell if the Chicken is Already Spoiled?
If not kept and appropriately stored, the raw chicken will degrade quickly and become the fertile soul for bacteria like Salmonella or E Coli. Once the chicken has been removed from its container and exposed to air, germs will accumulate.
You will be hesitant to consume chicken once you feel it is harmful, even with the slightest hint. You should follow your guts since consuming spoiled chicken brings the possibility of food-borne illnesses.
Here are some tips we collected to help you determine if the chicken is still safe to consume.
- Always check the sell-by-date. You should only use and cook the chicken a couple of days after its sell-by-date, provided you store it properly.
- Smell it out. If the chicken produces a strange and unpleasant smell, follow your guts. Dispose and throw it away before it destroys other food products in your fridge.
- Examine the color of the chicken. If you find that the color of the chicken looks more greyish than pink and has some signs of visible mold, it would not be suitable for consumption.
- Check the feel. Once the chicken haves an edgy and forms a snot shape on the surface, you should dispose of it already.
If the chicken does not pass any color, taste, smell, or sell-by-date test, discarding it will always be better.
Wrap Up on Chicken’s Sell-By-Date
It’s not surprising to know that chicken is one of the most popular meats in the world. There are a lot of recipes you can cook using chicken. But we all know that, at times, the life span of a chicken can be tricky to find.
In this article, we’ve tried our best to cover the shelf-life of the chicken beyond its sell-by-date. So, the next time, provide your family with the finest and freshest chicken.