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.
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.
References and ResourcesO Chef: Chicken Smells Before the Sell-By Date
Virginia Tech University: Food Storage Guidelines for Consumers