Clean.  Separate.  Cook.  Chill. Following the simple steps listed here help ensure safety when handling and cooking fresh chicken.

  1. Rinsing a whole chicken or chicken pieces in cold water prior to cooking is a preferred method by most culinary experts. However, it is optional as long as the whole chicken or pieces appear well cleaned right out of the package. If you are someone who likes to rinse, be sure to scrub the sink with hot, soapy water afterwards to avoid cross-contamination with other foods. Food safety experts say: skip the rinse.
  2. According to the USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service, regardless of the cut or type, poultry should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (measured in the thickest part of the meat). However, you may want it cooked more based on your personal preferences. Some visual cues for doneness: chicken juices should run clear, there should be no hint of pink in the meat, and the meat should be fork-tender which means the fork should insert easily into the chicken. But to be sure, the experts say ALWAYS USE A MEAT THERMOMETER.Here are a few pointers for using one properly.
    1. For a whole chicken, insert the meat thermometer into thickest part of the thigh or breast.
    2. For bone-in, boneless and ground chicken, insert it into the thickest part of the largest piece/portion you are cooking.
    3. In all cases, make sure the probe doesn’t touch the bone or cooking surface.
  3. Wash all surfaces and equipment that the raw chicken comes in contact with during preparation, including bowls, plates, cutting boards, knives, countertops, etc. Don’t forget your hands and fingernails too!
  4. Get more safe cooking and handling information at: 
    1. USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service
    2. National Chicken Council