If you’re like most people, you probably think that eating old cooked chicken is pretty harmless. After all, it’s just chicken, right? Wrong.
It turns out that consuming expired poultry can actually make you quite ill. In fact, there’s even a name for it: food poisoning. So if you’re planning on chowing down on some leftovers tonight, beware!
Most people have had the experience of eating leftover chicken only to find that it doesn’t taste as good as it did the first time around. In fact, it may even taste bad enough that you start to wonder if you’re going to get sick from eating it.
The truth is, you probably won’t get sick from eating old cooked chicken, but it might not taste great. Chicken is safe to eat after three to four days in the fridge, so if you’re in that zone, go ahead and give it a try. If it’s been longer than that, though, it’s probably best to toss it out.
The Risks of Eating Old Cooked Chicken
Eating old cooked chicken poses a risk of food poisoning. Chicken is often a source of harmful bacteria like Salmonella and Campylobacter. These bacteria can cause food poisoning, with symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.
It’s not always obvious when chicken has gone bad. Look for signs like an off odor, slimy texture, or changes in color. If you’re unsure, it’s best to throw it out.
Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40Â°F and 140Â°F; cooked chicken should be promptly refrigerated at 40Â°F or below. Bacteria can also grow on cooked chicken if it’s not stored properly.
If you plan to eat cooked chicken within four days, store it in the refrigerator. If you’re not sure when you’ll eat it, freeze it and thaw it in the refrigerator before eating.
The Symptoms of Food Poisoning
Food poisoning is a common, yet extremely unpleasant illness that can occur when you eat contaminated food. The symptoms of food poisoning can range from mild to severe, and usually come on suddenly. They can include:
How to Prevent Food Poisoning
Most people know to beware of food that’s been left out of the fridge for more than two hours, but what about food that’s been in the fridge for a while? It turns out that some foods are actually more risky to eat after they’ve been sitting in your fridge for a few days. Here are five foods you should be particularly careful with.
1. Cooked Chicken
Cooked chicken is one of the most common sources of food poisoning, especially if it’s not handled properly. If you’re not going to eat it within four days, freeze it immediately. When reheating, make sure the chicken is steaming hot all the way through before eating it.
Like chicken, eggs can also cause food poisoning if they’re not handled properly. Avoid eating eggs that have been sitting out of the fridge for more than two hours, and be sure to cook them thoroughly before eating. If you’re not sure how old they are, crack them open and check to see if the whites and yolks are still firm.
Mayo is another common source of food poisoning, since it’s made with raw eggs. Once opened, mayo will last in the fridge for about two months – but after that, it starts to spoil and can cause nausea and vomiting.
Milk is another dairy product that can spoil quickly and cause illness. Once opened, milk will last in the fridge for about a week – but after that point, it needs to be thrown out. You’ll know milk has gone bad because it will start to develop a sour smell and thicken in texture.
Fish is a great source of protein – but it can also be dangerous if it’s not fresh. If you’re not going to eat fish within two days of buying it, freeze it immediately. When cooking fish, make sure it’s cooked all the way through; sushi grade fish is safe to eat raw, but other types of fish should be cooked until they’re opaque in color all the way through
How to Tell if Chicken is Bad
You can tell if chicken is bad if it gives off a bad smell, changes color, or feels slimy. If you’re unsure, throw it out. To be on the safe side, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and throw out chicken that you’re not sure about.
Here are a few additional signs that chicken has gone bad:
-The chicken is a dull color.
-The chicken skin is slimy.
-The poultry juice is cloudy.
-You can see mold growing on The meat.
-The smell of the chicken is off.
What to Do if You Think You’ve Eaten Bad Chicken
If you have eaten bad chicken, it is likely that you will experience symptoms of food poisoning. These symptoms can range from mild to severe, and can include vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, headache, and fever. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating chicken, seek medical attention immediately. It is also important to remember that not all food poisoning cases require medical attention – in many cases, the body will be able to clear the infection on its own. However, if you are pregnant, have a weakened immune system, or are elderly, it is always best to err on the side of caution and see a doctor just to be safe.
If you have cooked chicken that is a week old or more, it is probably not safe to eat. The chicken has probably been contaminated with bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli, which can cause food poisoning. If you have stored the chicken in the refrigerator, you may be able to salvage it by reheating it to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
The USDA recommends throwing away any cooked chicken that is more than four days old. Raw chicken can be stored in the fridge for up to two days. If you’re unsure whether your chicken is still good, check for these signs:
-The chicken is dry or rubbery.
-The chicken has changed color, is green or has a grayish tinge.
-The chicken has a bad odor.
-If you see any of these signs, it’s best to throw the chicken away to avoid getting sick.