How do I safely store my chicken?

I think we can all agree there is nothing worse than raw chicken juice leaking in your fridge and contaminating all of your groceries. Luckily, there is a way to safely store your raw chicken while keeping it fresh and protecting your other refrigerated items. It is one of the easiest tips, and it involves where you put raw chicken in your fridge.

As soon as you get home from your shopping adventure, you are going to want to put your raw chicken in the refrigerator or freezer ASAP. We all get distracted from time to time, but raw meat does not need a hang-out session on the countertops. Keep it cool and fresh for a tasty meal ahead!

Once you’re ready to store your raw chicken in the refrigerator, clear off a space for it on the bottom shelf, and always use a plate. A common mistake is stashing raw chicken on the top shelf. While it may be convenient to store it on top, it creates a possibility of juices leaking down into your refrigerator. This poses a real risk, especially for items like fresh apples or carrot sticks that we usually don’t cook before eating. It doesn’t take much – just a tiny bit of those raw chicken drippings can sneakily cause a food safety issue for your produce, and you might not even notice it right away.

We recommend storing raw chicken in its original packaging whether it be in the fridge or freezer. If a package is leaking, you can put it in an airtight container or bag to keep it fresh. To go an extra step, you can slip the package into a plastic grocery bag to catch any stray drips and place it on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Double check that it’s not sitting on top of any other food or drinks!

For the best quality and food safety experience, make sure to cook your chicken to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (using a meat thermometer), and use it (or freeze it) by the “use by” date that is featured on the packaging!

Need a recipe that inspires? Visit Recipes That Inspire | Georges Farmers Market (