Bacteria from raw and undercooked chicken is one of the leading causes of food-borne illness in Australia. Follow the tips below to ensure that the chicken you prepare and serve is safe to eat.
1. Always cook chicken throughly: Chicken must reach at least 75°C for 2 minutes or longer in the thickest part of the meat - always use a thermometer to check the temperature
2. Check the juices when cooking: Juices should run clear (not pink) when the meat is pierced with a fork or skewer
3. Never wash raw chicken: Washing raw chicken can splash bacteria-contaminated juices onto the sink, preparation surfaces and equipment such as chopping boards
4. Always wash your hands: Do this before handling raw chicken (to prevent bacteria from your hands contaminating the meat) and after handling raw chicken (so that you don't cross-contaminate other objects)
5. Clean and sanitise preparation equipment: Ensure knives, chopping boards, kitchen surfaces and containers are all thoroughly cleaned and sanitised after coming into contact with raw chicken
6. Use separate and utensils: Have separate equipment and utensils for preparing raw chicken and other meats, and never use these items for foods that don't need to be cooked such as fruits and vegetables used in salads
7. Store raw chicken carefully: Keep raw chicken in tightly sealed containers, and ensure that the outside surfaces of storage containers don't come into contact with raw meat. Always store raw chicken below cooked and ready-to-eat items in the refrigerator
8. Never defrost chicken at room temperature: Always defrost chicken in the refrigerator or in the microwave (in fact, it's best practice to never defrost any food at room temperature)
9. Freeze chicken that won't be consumed within 2 to 3 days: Freezing chicken prevents the growth of harmful bacteria. If you've purchased chicken that won't be eaten within 72 hours then freeze it and defrost it later.
10. If in doubt, throw it out: The golden rule of food safety. If any of the previous tips haven't been followed, or you're unsure about the safety of any food, don't take chances - throw it out!