If you are in the food business, you are also in the food safety business. For those of us in the chicken industry, we believe that it is our responsibility to help raise awareness regarding what we do to keep chicken safe, and what consumers can do to ensure safety for themselves and their families.
Chicken producers are committed to making sure their products are as safe as possible and meet strict U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards. Thanks to decades of research, innovation and fine-tuning of production protocols, a serving of delicious, nutritious chicken is safer today than ever before.
More than 90% of the industry is meeting or exceeding the USDA performance standard for Salmonella on whole broiler carcasses. Similarly, more than 90% of broiler establishments are meeting and exceeding the performance standard for Salmonella on chicken parts.
“We are committed to drive these numbers down even further,” said Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., National Chicken Council senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs. “The industry will remain dedicated to investing significant resources – at the hatchery, feed mill, farm and plant – to build on our success and further enhance the safety profile of chicken products.”
There are many steps that chicken producers take – even before the egg is hatched – to meet strict government standards and ensure chicken is as safe as possible. NCC’s new FAQs and visual resources bring those steps to life, while outlining the progress the industry has made in food safety.
Interactive Food Safety Infographic & Video
To better understand how chicken safely arrives on your plate, look no further than our new interactive Food Safety Infographic. This visual guide to our industry’s robust and continuously-improving safety measures offers a wealth of information about the precautions and protocols that keep your chicken safe from the hatchery to the grocery store and beyond.
Hungry for even more chicken-related food safety information? Check out our new Food Safety Process Video, which brings the infographic to life with video footage to give you way more than a bird’s-eye view into every step of the process:
Food Safety FAQs
Have a specific question about chicken food safety? Want to dive deep into the many methods chicken producers use to protect consumers from potential harmful bacteria? Check out our FAQs page to get the scoop on health and safety measures while learning the latest on the fight to keep potential foodborne pathogens out of our favorite meals.
Our newest FAQs cover the following topics:
- Food Safety: What is the U.S. chicken industry doing to ensure products are safe to eat?
- Salmonella: Is there progress being made in reducing Salmonella and what is the chicken industry doing to make chicken as safe as possible?
- Campylobacter: What is Campylobacter? How is the chicken industry and public health agencies preventing and controlling Campylobacter?
Progress in Reducing Salmonella Infographic
You have likely heard of Salmonella. You may even associate it with raw meat like chicken. But did you know that 89% of Salmonella illnesses from 2017-2019 were attributed to sources other than chicken? If you want to learn more, you should check out our Progress in Reducing Salmonella Infographic.
Food Safety at Home
Remember, preparing chicken safely at home is as easy as four words —separate, chill, clean, and cook.
Avoid cross-contaminating other foods. Separate raw chicken from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags, your kitchen and refrigerator.
Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
Do not rinse raw chicken in your sink—it will not remove bacteria. In fact, it can spread raw juices around your sink, onto your countertops or ready-to-eat foods. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry can only be killed when cooked to a safe internal temperature.
Make raw chicken or meat products the last items you select at the store. Once home, the products must be refrigerated or frozen promptly.
Freeze raw chicken if it is not to be used within 2 days. If properly packaged, chicken can remain frozen for up to one year. After cooking, refrigerate any uneaten chicken within 2 hours. Leftovers will remain safe to eat for 2-3 days. Refrigerators should be set to a temperature of 40°F or below.
Thaw frozen chicken in the refrigerator—not on the countertop—or in cold water. To speed up the process, chicken can be thawed in the microwave.
When marinating, make a separate batch of marinade to serve with the cooked chicken and discard anything that was used on the raw chicken. Always marinate chicken in the refrigerator, for up to 2 days.
When barbecuing chicken outdoors, keep poultry refrigerated until you’re ready to cook. Do not place cooked chicken on the same plate used to transport raw chicken to the grill.
Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw chicken.
Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops with hot, soapy water before and after preparing each food item.
Cook chicken thoroughly. All poultry products, including ground poultry, should always be cooked to 165°F internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer; leftovers should be refrigerated no more than two hours after cooking.
The color of cooked poultry is not a sure sign of its safety. Only by using a food thermometer can one accurately determine that poultry has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F throughout the product. Be particularly careful with foods prepared for children under 5, older adults and persons with impaired immune systems.