Chicken can spoil if you store it past the expiration date or handle it improperly. Inspecting the chicken carefully before you cook it will protect your health. Spoiled chicken allows dangerous bacteria to breed, which can result in severe illnesses. The dangerous bacteria can often not be killed by simply cooking the chicken thoroughly. If you notice any signs of spoilage, it is best to discard the chicken so that you do not risk becoming ill.
Read the expiration date on the package of chicken. Always purchase and use the chicken before the expiration date. The chicken may go bad before or after the expiration date, but it gives you an idea of its freshness.
Smell the chicken to determine if it has spoiled. Spoiled chicken will have an ammonia-like or rotten odor. The strong smell indicates that the chicken has spoiled, and it needs discarded immediately.
Inspect the color of the chicken carefully. Color changes on the surface of the chicken indicates mold. The chicken may appear darker or lighter in color in different locations. Discard the chicken immediately when you notice odd color changes.
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Touch the surface of the chicken to determine if it feels slimy or sticky. The slimy or sticky texture indicates that the chicken has spoiled, and it will often be accompanied by an odd odor. Throw the chicken away if you notice either of these textures.
Write the expatriation date or packaging date on the chicken when you place it into a different container or bag so that you can determine how long the poultry has been stored.
Always wash your hands with an antibacterial soap and warm water after handling the raw chicken to prevent an illness.
Angela LaFollette holds a Bachelor of Arts in advertising with a minor in political science from Marshall University. LaFollette found her passion for writing during an internship as a reporter for "The West Virginia Standard" in 2007. She has more than six years of writing experience and specializes in topics in garden and pets.