Diet and ExerciseCan I Eat Chicken 5 Days After Sell By Date

Can I Eat Chicken 5 Days After Sell By Date

Are you wondering if it’s safe to consume chicken that’s been sitting in your refrigerator for five days after its sell-by date? Well, don’t worry as we delve into the question of whether can i eat chicken 5 days after sell by date. In this article, we’ll shed light on the factors to consider when determining the freshness of chicken and provide you with valuable insights to make an informed decision. Let’s get started!

Discover the truth: Can you consume chicken five days after its sell-by date? Unveil the answer and ensure your culinary adventures remain deliciously safe.

Understanding Sell-By Dates on Chicken

Sell-by dates are labels on packaged foods such as chicken used by manufacturers and retailers to indicate the date when a product should be sold or removed from shelves. Understanding these dates is crucial for consumers to make informed decisions about the product’s freshness and safety. These dates are primarily for retailers guiding them to rotate stock and remove products that may have exceeded their recommended shelf life.

They are usually a few days before the product’s expiration date allowing consumers to purchase and consume the item while it is still fresh. While sell-by dates don’t guarantee chicken safety they provide a general idea of shelf life and should be used to choose fresh chicken. Proper storage both at the store and at home is essential for maintaining freshness and minimizing foodborne illnesses.

Can I Eat Chicken 5 Days After Sell-By Date?

The sell-by date on the chicken is a guide for retailers to know how long they can display the product for sale. It is not a safety date or an expiration date. However, it indicates the chicken’s freshness and how long it will last in the fridge.

According to the USDA fresh chicken should be cooked or frozen within 1 to 2 days of purchase. If you bought the chicken before the sell-by date it might last for up to 2 days past that date, depending on how it was stored. However, you should always check for signs of spoilage before eating it such as a change in color, smell or texture.

Some sources say you can eat chicken 5 days after the sell-by date if it has been thoroughly refrigerated and cooked. However, most experts do not recommend this, as the quality of the chicken will decline significantly and the risk of foodborne illness will increase. Chicken is a perishable food that can harbor harmful bacteria such as salmonella and campylobacter, which can cause serious illness if consumed.

Therefore the safest and best option is to cook or freeze your chicken within 2 days of purchase or by the use-by date if provided by the manufacturer. This will ensure that your chicken is fresh, tender and juicy and that you avoid any potential health problems.

Warning Signs of chicken is still safe to eat after the sell-by date

The sell-by date on the chicken is not an expiration date and it does not necessarily mean that the chicken is unsafe to eat after that date. However, it’s essential to understand food safety guidelines and exercise caution when consuming chicken past its sell-by date.

While sell-by dates are intended to guide retailers on when to sell or remove products from the shelves the actual shelf life of chicken can vary depending on factors such as storage conditions, handling and the specific packaging method. If the chicken has been properly stored at refrigerated temperatures (below 40°F or 4°C) it may still be safe to consume for a short period after the sell-by date.

To determine if the chicken is still safe to eat after the sell-by date it is important to rely on your senses and use common sense.

Here are some guidelines to consider chicken is still safe to eat:

Check for signs of spoilage: Examine the chicken for any noticeable changes in color, texture, or odor. If it has a foul or off-putting smell, a slimy texture or appears discolored, it is likely spoiled and should not be consumed.

  • Assess the packaging: If the packaging is damaged, torn or leaking, it is best to discard the chicken. Damaged packaging can lead to bacterial contamination and compromise the safety of the product.
  • Practice proper food handling and storage: If you’ve purchased chicken close to its sell-by date and plan to consume it later, make sure to store it promptly in the refrigerator and follow recommended storage guidelines. It’s advisable to cook or freeze the chicken within a day or two after the sell-by date for optimal safety and quality.
  • When in doubt discard: If you have any doubts about the safety or freshness of the chicken it is better to err on the side of caution and discard it. Consuming spoiled or contaminated chicken can lead to foodborne illnesses such as Salmonella or Campylobacter infections.

How can I minimize the risk of bacterial growth, spoilage, and foodborne illnesses associated with chicken

Proper Storage and Handling: Extending the Shelf Life of Chicken

Proper storage and handling practices are essential for extending the shelf life of a chicken and maintaining its quality. By following these guidelines you can minimize the risk of bacterial growth, spoilage and foodborne illnesses associated with chicken. Here are some key practices to consider:


  • Immediately refrigerate: Once you purchase chicken, promptly place it in the refrigerator. Leaving chicken at room temperature for an extended period allows bacteria to multiply rapidly.
  • Temperature control: Set your refrigerator temperature at or below 40°F (4°C). Keeping chicken consistently chilled inhibits bacterial growth and helps preserve its freshness.
  • Avoid temperature fluctuations: Prevent temperature fluctuations by keeping the refrigerator door closed as much as possible. Frequent opening and closing can lead to variations in temperature, potentially compromising the chicken’s quality and safety.

Proper Packaging

  • Use airtight containers or sealed packaging: Transfer chicken to airtight containers or resealable bags to prevent cross-contamination with other foods and to maintain its moisture.
  • Store in the original packaging: If the chicken is still sealed in its original packaging, it is generally safe to store it that way. However, ensure that the packaging is intact and free from damage.

Separation and Cross-Contamination

  • Prevent contact with other foods: Store chicken separately from other foods, especially those that will be consumed raw such as fruits and vegetables, to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Use separate cutting boards and utensils: When handling raw chicken, use separate cutting boards, knives and utensils to minimize the spread of bacteria.

Freeze for Longer Storage

  • Freezing chicken: If you don’t plan to consume the chicken within a couple of days, consider freezing it. Properly wrapped chicken can be safely stored in the freezer for several months depending on the type of chicken and packaging.

Follow Package Instructions

Check for specific instructions: Read and follow any storage instructions provided on the chicken’s packaging. Some pre-packaged chicken products may have specific recommendations for storage and shelf life.

What Happens If You Eat Spoiled Chicken

Eating spoiled chicken can cause foodborne illness also known as food poisoning. This is a result of eating contaminated, spoiled or toxic food. The most common symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Spoiled chicken can contain bacteria like Salmonella and E-coli. While cooking spoiled chicken can destroy Salmonella and E-coli, toxins will remain in the meat making bad chicken unsafe to eat. There are many diseases that you may get if you eat spoiled chicken. You can suffer from cramps and fever.

Some of the bacterial causes of food poisoning from chicken are:

  • E. coli can cause severe abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea and kidney failure.
  • Listeria monocytogenes can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions.
  • Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.
  • Campylobacter can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain.
  • Clostridium botulinum can cause blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth and muscle weakness.
  • Staphylococcus aureus can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea.


Prioritize food safety when consuming chicken beyond its sell-by date. The sell-by date indicates the last day the product should be displayed but it doesn’t guarantee safety immediately. Assess the chicken’s quality by inspecting its appearance, smell and texture. Fresh odor-free chicken may be safe up to five days after the sell-by date, provided it’s properly stored and refrigerated. Exercise caution and discard if doubts arise. Proper storage and handling practices ensure a healthy dining experience.


Q: Can I eat chicken 5 days after the sell-by date?

A: It is generally not recommended to eat chicken that is 5 days past its sell-by date. Here are some frequently asked questions related to this topic:

Q: What does the sell-by date on chicken mean?

A: The sell-by date on the chicken is the date until which the store should sell the chicken. It is an indicator for the store not necessarily for the consumer.

Q: Is it safe to eat chicken 5 days after the sell-by date?

A: While it is possible for chicken to still be safe to eat after the sell-by date it depends on various factors such as storage conditions and the overall quality of the chicken. It is best to assess the chicken’s appearance, smell and texture to determine if it is still safe to consume.

Q: How can I tell if the chicken is still safe to eat after the sell-by date?

A: Before consuming chicken past its sell-by date you should perform a sensory evaluation. If the chicken appears slimy has an off smell or shows signs of mold it is best to discard it. As well as if it looks and smells fine you can further examine its texture and color. If it feels slimy or has an unusual color it is safer to avoid eating it.


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