How Can I Tell If Chicken Has Gone Bad?

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Check to see if the chicken is slimy, smells bad or is off in color to see if it has gone bad. Unfortunately, chicken does not always have obvious signs when it goes bad, especially if it is precooked. Most chicken changes color, develops an unpleasant odor and tastes different when spoiled. Smelling the chicken, checking the color and conducting a taste test are the best ways to check.

Most chicken has a very short shelf life. The best way to ensure that it does not go bad is to refrigerate it immediately before and after cooking. Refrigerate chicken within an hour of cooking to help prevent bacterial overgrowth, which can lead to illness. Chicken goes bad at any temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you see that the chicken is spoiling rapidly, double check to ensure the refrigerator is set to cool below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooked chicken typically has a 3-day lifespan in the refrigerator. Raw chicken usually keeps for 1 to 3 days in the refrigerator if it is stored properly and may last past the "best by" date. Chicken keeps indefinitely in a freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, although the taste deteriorates after 6 months or longer.