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Script: Let's Talk Chicken

 

Intro:
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service podcast. Each episode will bring you cutting edge news and information about how FSIS is working to ensure public health protection through food safety. While we're on the job, you can rest assured that your meat, poultry, and processed egg products are safe, wholesome, properly labeled, and packaged correctly. So turn up your volume and listen in.

Host:
Welcome to "Food Safety at Home." This is Kathy Bernard with the Food Safety and Inspection Service. I'm your host for this segment. With me today is Diane Van, Manager of the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline. Diane and I will discuss the safe handling and cooking of chicken, which is the number one meat or poultry species consumed by Americans.

Host:
Hello, Diane, welcome to the show.

Guest:
Thank you Kathy. I'm pleased to be here.

Host:
Today we're going to discuss the safe handling and storage times for fresh (or raw) and cooked take-out chicken as well as the safe minimum internal temperature for cooked chicken.

Guest:
As when preparing any food, it's important to first follow the four Be Food Safe basics: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill. Keep hands and utensils clean; separate raw food from cooked foods; cook to safe temperatures; and chill leftovers promptly.

Host:
Besides the four basics, should we rinse or soak raw chicken to clean it before cooking?

Guest:
No Kathy, it's not necessary. Any bacteria which might be present are destroyed by cooking. And rinsing chicken in the sink might cross-contaminate or spread bacteria throughout the kitchen.

Host:
So what is the best way to handle chicken?

Guest:
Fresh or raw chicken should be selected just before checking out of the grocery store. It should feel cold to the touch when purchased. Put chicken packages in disposable plastic bags (if available) to contain any leaking juices which may cross-contaminate cooked foods or produce. Go right home after food shopping and immediately put the chicken in the refrigerator if you plan to use it within 1-2 days. If you won't be using the chicken by day 2, freeze it.

Host:
Do I have to rewrap chicken for freezing?

Guest:
No Kathy, it can be frozen in either its original wrapping or repackaged if you want. If freezing for longer than 2 months, for best quality, you may want to place in a freezer bag or overwrap with heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap or freezer paper. Either way, once it's frozen, chicken, and all other raw meats and poultry, are safe indefinitely in the freezer.

Host:
Indefinitely, I didn't realize that. How about storing rotisserie chicken that you've purchased hot at the store?

Guest:
When purchasing cooked chicken, make sure it's hot upon purchase. Use it within 2 hours or cut it up into several pieces and refrigerate in shallow, covered containers. You can eat the leftovers within 3-4 days, either cold or reheated to 165 °F, or freeze it. Again, once frozen, the cooked chicken is safe indefinitely in the freezer. For best quality, use within 3-4 months.

Host:
Is color a good way to determine if cooked chicken is safe to eat?

Guest:
No, only by using a food thermometer can one make sure chicken has reached the safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. When cooking a whole chicken, you should check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh, the wing and the thickest part of the breast. And remember, all chicken should be put in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F).

Host:
You can learn more about the safe handling and cooking of chicken by visiting the FSIS Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov. That's www.fsis.usda.gov. Or visit our virtual representative "Ask Karen" at askkaren.gov. Ask Karen represents another way FSIS reaches out to consumers in support of its public health mission to assure the safety and security of America's food supply. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Ask Karen prompts consumers to type food safety questions directly into an extensive database that provides instant responses to more than 1500 questions.

Guest:
Consumers may also call our toll-free USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That's 1-888-674-6854.

Host:
That's it for this week. We've been talking to Diane Van, Manager of the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline. Thank you so much, Diane, for your helpful guidance on the safe handling of chicken. I'm Kathy Bernard and I'd like to thank you for joining us for this episode of "Food Safety at Home." And remember, "Be Food Safe."

Outro:
Well, that's all for this episode. We'd like your feedback on our podcast. Or If you have ideas for future podcasts, send us an e-mail at podcast@fsis.usda.gov. To learn more about food safety, try our web site at www.fsis.usda.gov. Thanks for tuning in.
 
Last Modified Nov 08, 2013