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
This story has been updated since its original publish date.
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!
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