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According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, chicken is the number one species eaten by Americans today. All chickens sold in retail establishments have been inspected by the USDA for signs of disease.

Chicken Grading

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Chickens are graded according to USDA standards. Grade A is extremely high quality and is usually the only grade for sale in a grocery store. Grades B and C are reserved for processed products in which the chicken is cut or ground up for use as a byproduct.

Freshness Date

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Chicken should be used within three days of the sell-by date. If not used within three days, it should be frozen.

Fresh or Frozen

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A chicken labeled as fresh means that it has never been stored below 26 degrees Fahrenheit. Raw poultry stored at zero degrees Fahrenheit or below must be labeled as frozen. There are no labeling requirements for chicken stored between zero and 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

About the Author

Jackie Whalen

Based in Buffalo, N.Y., Jackie Whalen has been writing since 2007. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently a third-year law student.