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 can make meal time easier. But breaded chicken can cause food poisoning if it hasn't been stored, prepared or cooked properly. To protect your family, cook the breaded chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F).

Follow the package directions and cook chicken properly to kill bacteria like Salmonella. You can also stop bacteria from spreading to your fridge, kitchen surfaces or utensils by handling the breaded chicken properly. Follow the safety tips below to keep your family safe.

Health risks

Since May 2017, hundreds of Canadian illnesses have been linked to breaded chicken 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 recover fully in a few days. However, some people are at higher risk of serious illness including:

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


When you put away your groceries, make sure you keep the frozen breaded chicken in its 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.


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

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


Use these tips when you prepare frozen breaded chicken:

  • handle the frozen breaded chicken the same way you would raw chicken meat
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after touching it
  • use a separate plate, cutting board and tools 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 the frozen breaded chicken, clean your:
    • tools
    • plates
    • cutting boards
    • kitchen surfaces
  • wipe kitchen surfaces with paper towels or change dishcloths daily to avoid cross-contamination
    • don't use sponges, which are harder to keep free of bacteria


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Follow these tips when cooking frozen breaded chicken.

Cook your chicken!

  • never eat raw or undercooked chicken
  • always follow package cooking instructions, especially for products that are labelled:
    • uncooked
    • oven-ready
    • ready to cook
    • cook and serve
  • cook the 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 the 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 chicken, 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 when handling breaded chicken that you use for other items. Also, clean the plate, board or tools thoroughly before reusing.


Use these tips to keep your leftovers safe:

  • chill or freeze leftovers within 2 hours to reduce the chance of bacterial growth
  • make sure the cooked breaded chicken doesn’t touch raw meat
  • don't fill your fridge with too much food so that cool air can circulate effectively
  • use chilled leftovers as soon as possible, 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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