When cooking your chicken, here are some general guidelines to help prepare it safely:
Cleanliness–Make sure everything is prepared and cleaned to prevent bacteria from getting on the food. It is important to wash your hands before and after handling the food. Also make sure that all of the cooking dishes you use are clean.
Separate–You want to avoid cross-contamination with other foods. It is important to keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate. Before preparing your raw chicken, you should not rinse it in your sink. The bacteria can easily be spread from your sink to your countertops and onto the other food you are preparing. The only way to kill this bacterium is to cook it to a safe internal temperature. It is recommended to have at least 2 cutting boards as well (one for fresh produce, one for raw meats).
Cooking–When cooking poultry you want to make sure that is cooked thoroughly. Poultry should always be cooked to 165 degrees internal temperature. You can use a meat thermometer to make sure this is done accurately, and it is not recommended to just judge the poultry by the “color test”. Just because it isn’t pink or odd colored anymore doesn’t mean that it has been cooked thoroughly.
Chilling—it is best to select the poultry items you wish to purchase from the store as one of your last items in the cart as to keep it cold longer. Once you get it home it should immediately go into the refrigerator or the freezer. Your refrigerator should maintain a temperature of about 40 degrees (F). You should thaw the frozen poultry in the refrigerator instead of on the countertop or in cold water. This helps prevent the spread of bacteria. It is recommended to refrigerate leftovers within an hour or two after cooking; they will then be safe to eat for the next two-three days.
Compiled by Cory Johnson