Frozen raw breaded chicken

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Food poisoning and frozen raw breaded chicken

Most frozen breaded chicken products like chicken nuggets, strips, burgers, chicken fries and popcorn chicken contain raw chicken. They may look pre-cooked or browned but they are raw inside.

Using breaded chicken products can make meal time easier. But they can also cause food poisoning if they haven't been stored, prepared, or cooked properly. Protect your family by cooking frozen raw breaded chicken products to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F).

Following the package directions and cooking chicken properly will kill bacteria like Salmonella. Handling your frozen breaded chicken products properly will also stop bacteria from spreading to your refrigerator, kitchen surfaces or utensils. Follow the safety tips below to keep your family safe.

Health risks

Since May 2017, hundreds of Canadian illnesses have been linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products contaminated with Salmonella. For every laboratory-confirmed illness reported, there are dozens more unreported illnesses.

Anyone can get sick with a Salmonella infection but most people will recover fully in a few days. However, some people are at higher risk of serious illness including:

Some people could also be infected with the bacteria and not get sick or show any symptoms. However, they can still spread the infection to others.

Unpacking

When you put away your groceries, make sure you keep your frozen breaded chicken products in their original packaging.

If you have to get rid of the package, cut or write out the cooking instructions and product codes on the box. Store these in the freezer with the product. This information can also help public health officials if there is an illness or outbreak.

Chilling

Keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Try to keep your food out of the temperature danger zone between 4°C (40°F) and 60°C (140°F). At these temperatures, bacteria can grow quickly and make you sick.

Keep your frozen raw breaded chicken safe to eat by:

  • buying them at the end of your shopping trip
  • placing them in the freezer as soon as you get home
  • making sure your freezer is set at -18°C (0°F) or lower

Preparing

Use these tips when you prepare your frozen raw breaded chicken:

  • handle them the same way you would raw chicken meat
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after touching them
  • use a separate plate, cutting board and tools during preparation to prevent the spread of bacteria
  • clean everything with a kitchen cleaner or bleach solution and then rinse with water
    • kitchen cleaner (follow the instructions on the container)
    • bleach solution (5 ml household bleach to 750 ml of water)
  • before and after preparing frozen raw breaded chicken, clean your:
    • tools
    • plates
    • cutting boards
    • kitchen surfaces
  • use paper towels to wipe kitchen surfaces, or change dishcloths daily to avoid cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria
    • don't use sponges as they are even harder to keep bacteria-free

Cooking

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Follow these tips when cooking frozen raw breaded chicken products.

Cook your chicken!

  • never eat raw or undercooked chicken
  • always follow package cooking instructions, especially for products labelled
    • uncooked
    • oven-ready
    • ready to cook
    • cook and serve
  • cook your breaded chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F)
  • do this even if there are no cooking instructions on the package
  • don't use a microwave to cook your breaded chicken
    • microwaves heat food unevenly, which means some parts of the chicken may be undercooked

Check your chicken!

74 Degrees celcious plus. Safe to eat
  • use a digital food thermometer to make sure your chicken has reached an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F)
  • insert the thermometer through the side of the product, all the way to the middle
  • this may not be possible with very small pieces of chicken, so cook them according to the package instructions

Don't use the same plate, cutting board or tools on breaded chicken products. Clean them thoroughly before reusing.

Leftovers

Use these tips to keep your leftovers safe:

  • chill or freeze leftovers within 2 hours to reduce the chance of bacterial growth
  • make sure cooked and raw meat don't come into contact with each other
  • don't fill your fridge with too much food so that cool air can circulate effectively
  • use chilled leftovers as soon as possible, ideally within 2 to 4 days
  • if reheating, make sure the food is cooked to an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F)
    • don't reheat the same leftovers more than once

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