How to tell if a chicken is bad
We always recommend buying the best chicken you can afford with the highest welfare standards possible.
Buying chicken that has been reared ethically and slowly will have more flavour and a better texture than mass-produced meat.
Organic meat is always free-range. In the case of chickens, according to the Soil Association, this means that flock sizes are smaller on organic farms with 2,000 as the maximum or 3,000 under EU organic standards. In the UK there is no maximum flock size for a free-range chicken
Having a smaller flock of hens means that it’s easier to look after the hens at an individual level and they can make better use of the outdoor space and roam more freely.
If you can’t afford organic chicken, look for chicken with Red Tractor certification. This means the farms adhere to strict animal welfare, safety, hygiene, and traceability rules.
You should always use chicken by the Use By date listed on the packaging. You can freeze raw chicken purchased on the Use By date, defrost thoroughly before cooking and use within two months.
When you open a packet of raw chicken there should be no foul, strong smells. If it smells bad, chances are your chicken is bad and should not be consumed.
Chicken that still has the bone attached will take longer to cook but it’s often more succulent and is far cheaper than the breast.
To check if a chicken thigh is cooked we recommend piercing the thickest part of the meat and checking to see the juices run clear with no hints of pink or red. Using a meat thermometer will prevent you from having to cut the meat open.
When using the thermometer, make sure the probe doesn’t touch the bone as this will distort the reading.