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Can I Store Raw Chicken in My Fridge for 7 Days? The Truth

Can I Store Raw Chicken in My Fridge for 7 Days? Chicken is one of the most common meats eaten in the USA. Up until the 1960s, the chicken was higher priced than beef and pork. It was more expensive to raise than cows or pigs. With advances in feed and keeping chickens now it is the number one meat eaten in the USA. 

The average American consumes approximately 2 lbs of chicken per week each week for either lunch or dinner. It still is not considered a breakfast food unless used in chicken sausage.

Many Americans do believe that chicken sausage is lower in fat, calories, and carbohydrates than pork sausage but this is not necessarily true unless you make your own.

Although chicken sausage is touted as being healthier for individuals, replicating flavors and textures leads to additives that simply add carbohydrates and calories. 

There is ground chicken which can be used to make your own sausage patties and meatballs, but buying mass-produced products is never healthier. 

According to The Atlantic, a verified magazine with a health section, grilled chicken, or stir-fried chicken is the healthiest.

The Atlantic also has studies showing that all organic, kosher, and white meat chicken is lower in fat and cholesterol and does indeed taste better although more expensive.

Can I Store Raw Chicken in My Fridge for 7 Days? 

A whole chicken, chicken parts, or chicken products of any type breaks down quickly when not cooked or frozen immediately after purchase. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has specific guidelines and information on raw and cooked chicken from preparation to handling. The guidelines specifically state that all chicken should be cooked or frozen within 2 days and that even prepared chicken should be eaten within 4 to 5 days. 

Can I Store Raw Chicken in My Fridge for 7 Days?
Can I Store Raw Chicken in My Fridge for 7 Days?

Most individuals perceive the water in a chicken package as blood since it is pink. However, it is mostly water that is seeping from the chicken being frozen before shipping by the manufacturer. 

The FDA also stressed checking the “Sell By” date with the “Use By” date as these two are entirely different dates. The “Sell By” dates are a mark of quality that stores must follow. This can differ from the “Use By” date and is your way of knowing when to prepare and eat the chicken

"Sell by" dates and "Use By" dates are different things. "Sell by" dates are used for store quality control purposes and "Use By" dates pertain to expiry. It is important to check both to ensure that the store you are buying from adheres to minimum safety standards.
“Sell by” dates and “Use By” dates are different things. “Sell by” dates are used for store quality control purposes and “Use By” dates pertain to expiry. It is important to check both to ensure that the store you are buying from adheres to minimum safety standards.

Bad chicken can cause many severe and sometimes deadly illnesses such as Salmonella and E-coli with dozens of others.

This is addressed by the Food and Safety Administration on its website and it lists all bacteria related to chicken and other foods without proper storage or preparation. 

A huge fallacy is that chicken or poultry should be washed before cooking. This does not eliminate bacteria but results in cross-contamination of utensils and other foods. 

6 Ways to Store Your Raw Chicken Safely

1. Cook It and Eat It As Soon As You Can

Within two days is preferable according to the FDA guidelines as well as USDA guidelines and other health and safety sites. Chicken deteriorates rapidly and bacteria builds up quickly. 

Cook raw chicken as soon as possible, within 1 or 2 days. If not using right away, store properly in the freezer.
Cook raw chicken as soon as possible, within 1 or 2 days. If not using right away, store properly in the freezer.

2. Freeze It If Not Able To Use It Within 1 to 2 Days

Freezing stops the deterioration of the chicken immediately. Freezer burn can occur if months go by without using the chicken but freezer burn is not dangerous although the flavor is lost. 

The AARP (American Association for Retired Persons) recommends cooking the chicken and then freezing portions of it since elderly individuals do not eat much at one sitting.

3. If Freezing Raw Chicken, Take It Out Of Its Original Packaging

There is usually a foam filler at the bottom and it can be loosely wrapped. Double wrap it in foil or plastic after blotting off any excess moisture. The foam filler can be soggy and contain drainage. Toss that out! 

If freezing chicken, take it out of its original packaging and double wrap it in foil and a freezer bag prior to freezing.
If freezing chicken, take it out of its original packaging and double wrap it in foil and a freezer bag prior to freezing.

4. Wash Your Hands Before Handling the Chicken

Any bacteria on your hands will transfer to the chicken immediately. This should also be done when freezing cooked chicken. All chicken should only be stored for a few weeks at most as freezer burn can occur on raw or cooked chicken. 

5. Write the Date On Any Frozen Chicken

Memory fails all of us at times. Knowing when you actually froze the chicken will be a great boon to freshness and taste when defrosted. Dating each package is the only way to truly remember.

6. Defrost Any Frozen Chicken Within 24 Hours of Usage

Again, both the FDA and the USDA encourage usage even of defrosted chicken within 1 or 2 days. Chicken and all poultry are especially prone to quick deterioration and tons of bacteria. 

Conclusion – Can I Store Raw Chicken in My Fridge Safely for 7 Days? 

We have given enough proof from reputable government and health sources to prove you should never store the raw chicken for 7 days in your fridge. 

Cook it, and eat it, or cook it and freeze it. You can also freeze it without cooking but you should never consume raw chicken that is not cooked or frozen for a week or more. 

Raw chicken deteriorates quickly so to ensure you eat good quality, safe chicken, use it right away or plan your purchase accordingly.
Raw chicken deteriorates quickly so to ensure you eat good quality, safe chicken, use it right away or plan your purchase accordingly.

A few days make a huge difference in raw chicken quality and can lead to illness. Cooking bad chicken does not remove bacteria! So toss it out rather than risk getting ill.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) even warns to clean out your fridge as leakage from bad chicken contaminates surfaces and other foods. 

Take care of your food and it will take care of you! 

Frequently Asked Questions About Can I Store Raw Chicken in My Fridge for 7 Days?

I Stored My Raw Chicken For 8 Days. Should I Use It? 

Your chicken has likely deteriorated by then and unfortunately, you run the risk of all kinds of bacteria and food poisoning. Food poisoning can be serious and even deadly in some cases. This is documented by the National Institute of Health (NIH). It will not even taste fresh or appealing in all likelihood. 

I Purchased Chicken That Feels Slimy. It Is Good to Eat? 

Chicken, including the skin, should feel soft but firm with no slimy feel. Slimy chicken is not safe to eat. Chances are the place of purchase did not abide by the FDA and USDA regulations for “Sell By” dates. Take it back with your receipt and get reimbursed. You may want to consider reporting the market where you purchased the chicken.

Should I Eat Chicken That Smells Bad? 

You should not eat chicken that smells bad. A fishy or “off odor” indicates bacteria and spoilage. You might’ve forgotten when you purchased it or the place of purchase might have not marked the expiration date correctly. A USDA symbol should be seen when you shop for chicken. Chicken that smells bad is not just a mild bad smell. It really does smell awful and you will know immediately that this is not something you should even consider consuming. 

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)

Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.