Signs of Spoiled Chicken in the Fridge

Eating spoiled meat can result in food poisoning, which causes, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever and cramping. Avoid food poisoning by ensuring the meat you cook is fresh and has not had time to go bad. Chicken can go bad within three days, even if is it kept in the refrigerator. Knowing what to look for will help you detect spoiled chicken and avoid food poisoning. Once you understand the signs, it is not difficult to know if chicken has gone bad in the fridge.

Fresh chicken legs from the fridge. Credit: kvkirillov/iStock/Getty Images

Step 1

Check the "Best By" date on the chicken's packaging. If the date has passed, there is a chance the chicken has gone bad despite refrigeration.

Step 2

Observe the color of the chicken. Fresh chicken has a bright pink color, while chicken that has gone bad will have a slight gray tint to its exterior.

Step 3

Smell the chicken. Spoiled chicken has a foul, slightly sweet smell that differs immensely form the scent of fresh chicken.

Step 4

Touch the chicken with your fingertips. Chicken that has gone bad in the fridge will feel slimy, rather than moist, on its surface.


If the chicken shows any signs of going bad or you doubt its freshness, throw it away.

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