How can you tell if ground chicken has gone bad?

Introduction: Why Is It Important to Know if Ground Chicken Has Gone Bad?

Ground chicken is a popular ingredient in many dishes, such as burgers, meatballs, and tacos. However, consuming spoiled ground chicken can lead to food poisoning and other health problems. Therefore, it is essential to know how to determine if your ground chicken has gone bad before cooking and consuming it.

Look for Expiration Date and Purchase Date

The first step in determining if your ground chicken has gone bad is to check for the expiration date and purchase date. The expiration date is the date by which the chicken should be consumed or frozen, while the purchase date is the day you bought the chicken. If the expiration date has passed or the chicken has been in your fridge for more than two days, it’s best to discard it.

Check for Signs of Discoloration

If the ground chicken has turned brown or gray instead of pink or white, it could be a sign that it has gone bad. Discoloration is usually caused by oxidation, which occurs when the meat is exposed to air for an extended period. If you notice any discoloration, it’s best to throw it out.

Smell for Any Foul Odor

Spoiled ground chicken will give off a foul odor that is easily detectable. If the meat smells sour, ammonia-like, or like rotten eggs, it’s time to dispose of it. The smell can be overpowering, so it’s easy to tell when ground chicken has gone bad.

Touch the Meat to Check for Texture Changes

Another way to tell if ground chicken has gone bad is to touch it. Spoiled meat will feel slimy or sticky to the touch, indicating that bacteria have started to grow on the surface. If the meat feels slimy, it’s best to discard it.

Conduct a Pinch Test

A pinch test can also help determine if ground chicken has gone bad. Pinch a small amount of the meat between your fingers and check for any stickiness or sliminess. If the chicken feels firm and dry, it’s probably still good to eat.

Use a Thermometer to Check Temperature

Cooked ground chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to ensure that any bacteria present have been killed. However, if you’re unsure if the chicken has gone bad, you can use a thermometer to check the temperature of the meat before cooking. If the chicken has a temperature of over 40°F, it’s best to throw it out.

Look for Signs of Freezing or Thawing

If you notice ice crystals or freezer burn on your ground chicken, it could be a sign that it has been frozen and thawed several times. Freezing and thawing can cause the meat to lose its texture and flavor, making it less desirable to eat.

Check for Signs of Spoilage on the Packaging

In addition to checking the meat itself, you should also check the packaging for signs of spoilage. If the packaging is swollen, leaking, or has a bad odor, it’s best to discard the meat.

Keep Track of Storage Time

Ground chicken should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F or below. It’s best to consume the meat within two days of purchase or thawing. If you’ve had the meat in the fridge for more than two days, it’s best to dispose of it.

Consider the Environment in Which the Meat Was Stored

Finally, it’s important to consider the environment in which the meat was stored. If the meat was left out at room temperature for an extended period or exposed to direct sunlight, it’s more likely to spoil quickly.

When in Doubt, Throw It Out

If you’re unsure whether your ground chicken has gone bad, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it out. Consuming spoiled meat can lead to food poisoning and other health problems, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Always remember to practice good food safety habits to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.

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Elise DeVoe

Elise is a seasoned food writer with seven years of experience. Her culinary journey began as Managing Editor at the College of Charleston for Spoon University, the ultimate resource for college foodies. After graduating, she launched her blog, Cookin’ with Booze, which has now transformed into captivating short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram, offering insider tips for savoring Charleston’s local cuisine.

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