We’ve heard for years that chicken needs to be handled and cooked properly because of the potential for harmful bacteria. Bacteria are everywhere though, and while most are harmless or even beneficial to humans, some can make us sick. All foods, including meat, fruits, and vegetables, have the potential to cause food-borne illness and proper care needs to be taken when handling, cooking, storing or serving all foods. But, what are the proper methods for the safe handling and cooking of chicken?
This article is dedicated to busting up popular food and nutrition myths. In honour of this theme, we have developed some true or false statements about our favourite topic – chicken! Go ahead and take our quiz to see just how chicken smart you are.
Cooking Chicken: True or False?
1. It is safe to defrost and cook chicken labelled “cook from frozen.”
False. If purchasing a “cook from frozen” chicken, follow the directions on the label carefully as this product must be cooked from the frozen state to ensure food safety.
2. Stuffing prepared and cooked inside a chicken is not safe.
False. Cooking kills bacteria. Follow this tip. Stuff chicken just before cooking, stuffing loosely – no more than two-thirds full. Always cook chicken to the recommended cooking temperature:
- Whole chicken, unstuffed should be cooked to the recommended internal cooking temperature of 180°F (82°C).
- Stuffing, cooked alone or in chicken should be 165°F (74°C). Use a digital instant-read thermometer to check.
- Leftover stuffing should be stored separately and promptly in a shallow container in the refrigerator at 4°C (40°F) or lower.
- Also, be sure to separate the chicken from the bone and refrigerate any leftovers within 2 hours.
3. Ensuring you follow proper cooking times is not just about food safety.
Food Safety at Home: True or False?
1. Do not cook frozen chicken in the microwave or slow cooker.
True. However, frozen chicken can be cooked in the oven or on the stove although cooking time may be about 50% longer.
2. Chicken may be marinated in the refrigerator up to two days.
True. Be sure to boil the used marinade before brushing on cooked chicken and discard any uncooked leftover marinade. Or, you can reserve some marinade separately during your initial preparation.
3. It’s always best to rinse chicken before you cook it.
False. Rinsing your chicken can splatter and spread bacteria around your kitchen and put you or your family at risk of developing a food-borne illness.
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