ABC radio 1233 listener query – fresh chickens?



Sandy, one of our regular listeners has had problems with “smelly chicken”…….


“I cannot tell you how many times I buy chicken that smells either “off” or not quite right!!

So my question is………. when you smell fresh chicken, should there be any kind of smell at all?  Or can chicken have a strong smell earthy kind of smell from hormones or grains or whatever, even though it isn’t off?”



We thought we would go straight to the chook’s mouth, so to speak, and contacted the chicken company who supplied the produce, and the Australian Chicken Meat Industry (ACMF), for their comments and advice.

“Fresh chicken should not have a strong smell but if stored in container or bag with liquid from bird  can have a mild odour.


To prevent and elevate this issue we suggest the following:

  • On purchasing  product should be taken directly home and taken out of plastic bag and washed under water.
  • After wash pat dry and store in a  clean covered container in fridge .
  • As per recognised best food handling product should be cooked within the next 48 hours .


As per the comment on hormones/ grains – it has been against the law from the early 1960s for the use of hormones in the production of  chicken  in Australia.”


Most raw meat has naturally occuring bacteria, so should be handled and stored correctly. To make it easier the Australian Chicken Meat Industry (ACMF) has issued this useful fact sheet.

Australian Chicken Meat Industry (ACMF)

Chicken: Food Safety Fact Sheet

Chicken is a nutritious, healthy food – low in fat and cholesterol and an excellent source of protein.

Food safety guidelines aim to prevent the bacteria naturally present in most food from spreading and multiplying. The following simple tips can keep bacteria at bay:


Safely eating chicken meat

  • The Food Safety Information Council promotes these simple guidelines to ensure the food you’re eating is safe:
  • Keep hot food steaming hot
  • Keep cold food refrigerated
  • Cook food properly
  • Separate raw and cooked foods
  • Keep kitchen and utensils clean
  • Wash hands with soap and dry thoroughly
  • As raw meat juices may contain bacteria, prevent it spreading by avoiding keeping utensils such as chopping boards and knives used on raw meat away from utensils and chopping boards used for other foods.
  • Keep everything — hands, fridge, freezer and storage containers — clean, particularly during the food preparation process. Clean ‘in between’.
  • Most raw or cooked chicken can be stored safely in the fridge at 5°C or lower for 2-3 days – minced poultry for just one day.
  • Keep raw chicken away from other foods in the fridge AND during preparation, so raw chicken juices do not contact other food that will be eaten raw, such as fruits or vegetables.
  • If you are storing for more than 2-3 days, chicken products should be frozen.



Freezing Tips

  • Freeze fresh chicken as soon as possible to maintain quality.
  • Use moisture proof wrap or bags when freezing chicken and label packages with the content and date it was frozen.
  • Thaw frozen chicken:

–       in the refrigerator

–       in cold water, changing every 30 minutes

–       in the microwave

  • NEVER thaw chicken at room temperature.



§        The time needed to cook chicken depends upon the cut and size – a rule of thumb is to cook for an hour per kilo.

§        Your chicken is thoroughly cooked when:

(1) The chicken meat is no longer pink inside and

(2) The chicken juices run clear.

You can use a food thermometer to check the temperature at the centre of the thickest part of the meat.  When it reaches 75 degrees C, it is thoroughly cooked.



Why is it important to cook chicken?

§        All raw meat and many other foods contain bacteria – most are harmless.

§        However, some bacteria, when eaten in sufficient quantities, can cause food poisoning.

§        All bacteria are very easily killed by normal cooking and are harmless and tasteless to people once killed.


The Chook Infoline 1300 4 CHOOKs (1300 424 665) and the website on are two convenient places where consumers can get answers to these and many other questions regarding chicken meat.


Posted on May 12, 2012 at 11:42 pm by Brigid · Permalink
In: Cooking Tips & Hints, Radio · Tagged with: , ,

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