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Chicken and other Poultry: Basics of safe handling and preparation

Whether grilling, broiling or roasting, here are a few important basics to keep top of mind when preparing chicken or other poultry:

  • wash hands before and after handling poultry
  • completely thaw poultry before cooking so that it cooks more evenly.  Defrost in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.  Never defrost food at room temperature!  Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
  • cook poultry until it reaches a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees F.  Use a food thermometer - you can't tell it is cooked by looking!
  • never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw poultry or meat.
  • rinsing poultry under water is not a safety step (see Mythbuster)!  Cooking to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees F is what will kill pathogens that could cause illness.

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