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What is the Yellow Stuff on Raw Chicken? 3 Best Reasons!

Food poisoning is among the most common illness, especially when you are not careful with your food, including chicken. Many people prefer chicken meat over beef as it’s light. However, you might have noticed that raw chicken sometimes has yellow stuff on it.  

Here, I will be talking about the yellow stuff on raw chicken and whether or not you can consume it.   

What is the Yellow Stuff on Raw Chicken?

Raw chicken can be yellow primarily because of the three main reasons. The first can be the genetic makeup. It will be yellow if the chicken is from the grey jungle fowl. The second reason can be the feed it gets, such as marigold, paprika, corn, and other carotene-heavy meals. And lastly, your raw chicken is yellow because it has gone bad.  

What is the Yellow Stuff on Raw Chicken?
What is the Yellow Stuff on Raw Chicken?

Reasons Why Raw Chicken is Yellow

Yellow raw chicken is not bad for your health as long as it doesn’t smell bad. Below I have listed the three main reasons your raw chicken may be yellow. 

1. The Genetic Makeup of Chicken Makes it Yellow

Junglefowl is the ancestor of all chickens. Yes, wild chickens exist, and it is possible to trace their ancestry to several varieties. The two most common ones are the red junglefowl from Southeast Asia and the grey junglefowl from India. 

The current chicken populations derive most of their genetic heritage from these birds. And the grey junglefowl has yellow skin under all the feathers, mainly on its legs. 

One reason your raw chicken is yellow-colored is that it has descended from the grey junglefowl. Coupled with a diet rich in corn, the chicken becomes distinctly yellow.    

The genetic makeup of the chicken and a diet rich in corn can make its appearance yellow.
The genetic makeup of the chicken and a diet rich in corn can make its appearance yellow.

2. Chicken Feed Rich in Corn and Grass Makes it Yellow

Another reason why your raw chicken is yellow-colored is because of the food it gets daily. Chickens given a diet made of corn, grains, and fishmeal have yellow skin. These foods provide them with a massive amount of carbohydrates, minerals, protein, and fiber to help them become healthy. 

Besides fattening, corn also gives an enhanced yellow pigment to the egg yolk. And, the yellower you get the yolk, the healthier you perceive the egg

However, corns can affect the color of the chicken’s skin and the flesh a little. Chickens fed heavily on corn possess the greater chances of having the most yellow-colored skin.  

The chicken packets are mostly labeled, indicating whether the chicken was corn-fed or not. Yellow tinges can even appear on fat, giving it an odd appearance. 

Therefore, if the skin of the raw chicken seems yellow, don’t worry. It is perfectly fine to consume and will roast or fry similar to other chickens.  

3. Chicken Has Gone Bad

Another important reason for raw chicken being yellow is that it has gone bad. You can easily tell that the chicken is not good for consumption just by looking at it. Generally, a fresh, good-to-eat chicken has light-pink flesh with white fat. 

If you notice the meat turning grey and the fat yellow, I would suggest you to not buy or cook it. Also, you can notice a nauseating smell. This is a clear sign that your chicken has gone bad, and I recommend throwing it away immediately.  

Fresh raw chicken should have light pink flesh and white fat.
Fresh raw chicken should have light pink flesh and white fat.

Other Signs that Your Raw Chicken Has Gone Bad

Despite displaying yellow color, raw chicken can also provide other signs when it has gone bad. Consider the following signals when you see a yellow chicken. 

1. It Produces Funky Smells

I use my senses when I need to know whether or not my food is still good to consume. One way to gauge if the raw chicken has gone bad is by noticing the odors it produces. In case you notice unusual smells, your meat has probably gone bad. 

These odors can be slightly sweet but somewhat similar to a rotten egg. If you notice such smells, I wouldn’t suggest consuming it. Instead, throw it away as soon as possible.  

2. The Meat Feels Slimy

Another way to confirm that the chicken is bad is again by using your senses. If I can’t notice unusual odors or colors, I use my fingers to feel the chicken meat to gauge if it’s good to consume. 

Raw chicken that feels slimy indicates that it is not safe for consumption. It will still feel sticky even after washing it thoroughly. Chicken meat that is good to consume always gives you a moist feel.   

You should discard chicken that has off-smells, texture and color to avoid food-borne illnesses.
You should discard chicken that has off-smells, textures and colors to avoid food-borne illnesses.

3. It’s Out of Date

Check the date whenever you’re buying a raw, pre-sliced, or cooked chicken. The labeled date informs you if it’s safe to consume or not. 

The meat may not be as fresh as it was when the date was printed, but it is still usable. However, if this is the case, the raw chicken must be cooked within 1-2 days after you buy it. 

Mainly, raw chicken can be stored in the fridge at a temperature of 40°F (4.4°C) for up to 2 days. However, if the chicken meat is frozen right after buying, raw chicken can be stored for up to 4 – 6 months. 

However, If you haven’t cooked the frozen chicken meat that’s been in the freezer for more than 6 months then you should get rid of it immediately to avoid having an upset stomach or food poisoning

Always check the best-by date when you buy packaged chicken to make sure it's still good.
Always check the best-by date when you buy packaged chicken to make sure it’s still good.

Frequently Asked Questions to What is the Yellow Stuff on Raw Chicken?

How Do You Know When Raw Yellow Chicken is Bad? 

If you see the meat has turned grey and the fat has turned yellow, the chicken is not safe to consume. Another sign that your raw chicken has gone bad is that you will notice bright yellow spots on the fat. Bad chicken also produces a funky smell.

Should You Wash Chicken With Vinegar?

Many cooks wash chicken with vinegar and water as it helps remove germs, dirt, and other junk. While it is not necessary to wash chicken with vinegar, it is just common practice. However, the best way to kill bacteria is by cooking it thoroughly.  

Why Are Chickens Fed with Corn? 

One reason why farmers use corn-rich feed for chickens is that such a diet is not expensive. Moreover, corn provides chickens with a good amount of carbohydrates, protein, minerals, and fiber. This helps them become healthy at affordable prices.   

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.