Know your chicken: do’s and don’ts of chicken safety

By YOU Digital
31 May 2019


Chicken. It’s such a staple in homes across South Africa it’s hard to imagine life without it. More affordable than red meat, easy to cook and versatile enough to prevent the fussiest eater from getting bored, it’s easy to see why it’s a firm favourite in millions of homes.

But it’s also vital to know everything about chicken – from buying it, cooking it and storing it – to ensure it’s safe for the whole family to eat.

Carmen Niehaus, YOU’s veteran food editor who has a wealth of experience when it comes to everything chicken, says there are three main things to consider:


The first thing to do is to check the expiry date on the pack of chicken. If it’s over its sell-by date, avoid – you don’t want to take any chances when it comes to your family’s health. Also make sure the pack is well chilled and tightly packaged with no exposed areas as air can contaminate the chicken.

“Fresh chicken is plump and firm and has a nice pink colour,” Carmen adds.



Salmonella bacteria can enter chicken during the preparation process so make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and always use clean utensils and chopping boards.

If you marinate chicken, ensure it’s done in a glass or plastic bowl. The aluminium in an aluminium bowl tends to react with the acids in the marinade and could spoil the chicken.

Make sure your chicken is cooked through before eating. The juices should run clear and there should be no pink when you cut into the thickest part of the chicken.


Chicken is highly perishable and should be handled with care, especially during hot weather, Carmen says. Always store it in the coldest part of the fridge (usually the lowest part). Freeze chicken if you aren’t going to cook it within 24 hours after buying.

Leftovers should be covered to prevent them from attracting bacteria and refrigerated as soon as the chicken has cooled down, Carmen adds.

She also warns against cross-contamination and says raw chicken should always be stored separately from other foods in the fridge so that the juices from the raw chicken doesn’t come into contact with other foods.


Only the best

The chicken served in the many restaurants under McDonald’s famous Golden Arches are supplied by the best suppliers in the country. Raised on farms with 100% sustainable bio-security measures, chickens are fed with only natural ingredients.

Norman Rametse, an experienced chicken farmer and his dedicated team are behind McDonald’s famous burgers and Chicken McNuggets®. Norman’s passion for chicken started when he was a schoolboy helping out in his parents’ butchery.

Over time he was able to acquire a farm and despite facing many challenges his journey has taught him a vital lesson: there are no short-cuts to producing quality poultry.

“As one of the best performing farms with the latest technology and high bio-security standard, producing quality chicken is our top priority.”

The farm has not only provided work for a number of people in the community but Norman and his wife have also assisted local community members in getting their identity documents. He also ensures a mobile clinic comes to the farm once a month because healthy workers mean healthy chicken – that’s his motto.

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