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Poultry Selection Guidelines


Poultry Selection Safety

We always buy poultry that has a healthy appearance pale flesh colour and does not possess any yellowing or strong smells. Our Shoppers check packaging for tears and ensure that it has been placed in cooler properly. When coolers are overstacked the items can become exposed to improper temperatures and premature spoilage. Buying all of your other groceries before any fresh or frozen meats will help to minimize the exposure time of our refrigerated or frozen items. Once at the check out, ensuring the poultry is in a separate plastic bag, away from the other goods, preferably wrapping it in one bag first and then placing this bag inside another plastic or reusable bag. This will keep the meat away from other products, especially fresh fruit and vegetables and consequently prevent cross-contamination that could occur from meat juices dripping onto the other goods. Opon leaving the supermarket, we immediately refrigerate or freeze it in our delivery vehicle so the meat will not get warm, preventing bacteria from growing. When choosing whole fresh chicken or turkey, choosing Grade A products are the best, having plump bodies, perfect skin and should be free from cuts, bruises or broken bones.

Frozen Poultry

When selecting frozen poultry from the store, we check for the presents of frost on the surface of the packaging, it means that the poultry has been stored at temperatures that are much too cold. Freezer Burn can discolor your poultry selection and cause a bland flavor when cooked. Poultry can be used or frozen within two days of its "sell by" date and should be cooked by its "use-by" date. The meat will be at its best before or on the "use-by" date, however it can still be cooked after this date, although the quality of the meat will start to deterioate.

Purchasing Tips

When choosing a whole turkey or a whole chicken, allow 1 lb (450 g) of meat per person if you are unsure of how big a bird to buy. Therefore, if you are cooking for five people, you will need a bird that weighs around 5 lb (2.2 kg).

Storage Tips

Poultry should never be kept at room temperature for more than three hours. Bacteria thrive at warm temperatures and grow very slowly in the refrigerator. For this reason, you should store the poultry on the lowest and coldest part of your refrigerator. If you are not planning on cooking the poultry within two days of purchase, it must be stored in the freezer. It can be frozen in its original packaging or it can be repackaged. For a whole bird, it is probably best to keep it in its original packaging and then wrapping it with cling film several times. Try to avoid using plastic bags from the supermarket, as the chemicals from the print and colouring of the plastic may contaminate or react with the meat. Chicken or turkey pieces can be wrapped in meal-size portions in cling film or polythene freezer bags. To save money you could buy family packs of poultry pieces and then repackage them into smaller portions. It would be a good idea to clearly label each package with the contents and the date placed into the freezer.

Home Use and Safety

The meat should be placed in a fridge that maintains a temperature of below 40°F. When reheating chicken or turkey, make sure that you reheat the meat to a temperature of at least 165°F (75°C).

Fresh poultry products must be stored in the fridge and be used within one or two days before cooking. However, once cooked they can be kept refrigerated longer and still be used. For example, cooked poultry such as chicken pieces, chicken casserole or a chicken or turkey salad can be kept in the fridge for three to four days. Although, chicken or turkey with a sauce or gravy should only be kept for one or two days at the most. Once you plan to cook the frozen turkey or chicken, make sure that you calculate well in advance how long you will need to defrost the poultry and store it in the freezer until then. Make sure that the portions are properly wrapped otherwise "freezer burn" could develop. Freezer burn appears as grey-brown spots on the meat that is caused by air reaching the surface of the poultry meat. Any pieces of meat containing freezer burn should be cut away either before or after cooking. If a lot of freezer burn is present, the meat could turn out to be very dry and tasteless when cooked.
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