Ask LH: Is It Okay To Eat Two-Week Old Chicken?

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Dear Lifehacker, Today I ate a big piece of cooked chicken that had been in the refrigerator (not frozen) for 10 days or so. It seemed good in terms of smell and taste but I do not know if I should have thrown it out and not eaten it? Am I going to get sick? Thanks, Waste Not Want Not

Dear WNWN,

You're probably asking the wrong person. I'm infamous in the office for having a cast-iron stomach and pathological disregard for food safety. I once ate a half-eaten McDonald's cheeseburger that had been left on my desk overnight.

And you know what? I hardly ever get sick. Thousands of years ago, we used to eat half-raw food off cave floors and we managed to survive as a species. Everyone just needs to toughen up.

With that said, chicken is one meat you probably don't want to mess with due to the increased risk of salmonella poisoning. Generally, if the meat smells and looks good it's probably okay to eat — but you may want to stick to health guidelines to stay on the safe side.

When stored between 0 and 3 degrees Celsius, you're supposed to eat leftover chicken within 3-5 days. However, the effectiveness of your refrigerator and the way you cooked the chicken can also make a difference. The CSIRO has some interesting research on food storage that you can read here. You can also check out our in-depth guide on how long to keep certain foods.

We're keen to hear what readers think on this topic. Do you have a firm cut-off date for refrigerated meats, or do you just go by the sniff test? What's the longest you've ever left chicken before scoffing it down? Let us know in the comments!

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    Shred and add to a boiling pot of soup. It essentially recooks it without drying it out. Problem solved!

    Today I ate a big piece of cooked chicken that had been in the refrigerator (not frozen) for 10 days or so. It seemed good in terms of smell and taste but I do not know if I should have thrown it out and not eaten it? Am I going to get sick?

    I guess we'll find out! By the time they read the response, they should probably already know for themselves, right?

    Sniff test for me. I think we're far too precious about cut-off dates and best before. If it's properly cooked in the first place, properly reheated in the second, and there's no mould or otherwise warning signs, go for it.

    If you are considering the sniff test, maybe read this first:
    http://www.abc.net.au/health/talkinghealth/factbuster/stories/2014/12/11/4146849.htm

    Sort of relevant to the article, but ewwww

    http://www.ehow.com/how_7718564_prepare-rotten-meat-primal-diet.html

    It depends on many factors:
    - was it cooked properly to start with (at least 75 deg in the centre)
    - was it rapidly cooled
    - has the fridge maintained below 4 deg
    - will it be cooked again or eaten cold

    The last one is most important. If heated properly (per above - http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/foodsafetyandyou/food-at-home/cooking-temperatures), almost all bacteria and fungi will be killed. In which case, it'll be safe.

    Eating it cold beyond a few days is risking food poisoning. And "sniff test" is highly unreliable (http://www.abc.net.au/health/talkinghealth/factbuster/stories/2014/12/11/4146849.htm).

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