So how safe is … chicken?

Chicken is one of the most popular foods in the world and is loved by many but is it safe and how did it become so popular?


Chicken is a member of the poultry group and is one of the Potentially Hazardous Foods. It is potentially hazardous because it has the right nutrients and moisture content to allow food poisoning bacteria to grow easily if it is not properly handled.

Therefore it must be  kept below 5C (40F) when cold and at 18C (0.4F) if frozen, or above 60C (141F) if hot. This ensure that it is outside of what is known as The Temperature Danger Zone. This has to be done at all times from purchase to transport to storage and then to cooking and holding.

Salmonella is a group of food poisoning bacteria that are commonly associated with chicken and all poultry, and if the above temperatures are carefully maintained then it's growth is significantly reduced.

Chicken cannot be served raw or even medium rare as the internal temperature of the product would not have gotten hot enough to ensure that Salmonella and other food poisoning bacteria are killed. Therefore the internal temperature of bone out chicken must reach at least 75 C (167F) and bone in 85C (185F - to ensure the blood changes from red to brown).

Temperature is not the only  thing that needs to be done to ensure that chicken is safe, having all contact surfaces clean and sanitised is also essential.

Sanitising  is a process done to kill bacteria and can use specially designed chemicals or even simple things like vinegar and lemon juice.

Good and regular handwashing is also essential The 20 / 20 Rule is the best way to do this.  It means washing your hands with a good soap for 20 seconds, making sure that you was all over the hands and up the arms. The second 20 seconds is the drying and should be done with either paper towel or a good air dryer.

The other important thing that needs to be done to ensure that chicken is safe is to  only use products that are within their use by date.

To stop the spread of food poisoning bacteria like Salmonella, chicken should never be washed before cooking, and should always be thawed in a covered container in the bottom of the fridge.


A chicken is often cut into nine pieces - the 9 cut - 2 breasts, 1 keel (the bit around the breast bone), 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings. This maximises the amount of meat that can be obtained from the bird.

The breast and keel are white and usually drier as they do not contain much fat.

The other cuts are all darker and are moister  when cooked as most of the fat in the bird will be in these areas.

Can be roasted, fried, coated, marinated, grilled , BBQ, steamed and boiled.

All 150 chicken varieties worldwide are members of the subspecies Gallus gallus domesticus.

The domesticated chicken  is a subspecies of the Red Jungle Fowl from Asia.


100g of whole chicken (with bone and skin) contains the following as well as other minerals and vitamins;

  • 239 calories
  • 24g Protein
  • 13.4g Fat - 3.7 g Saturated and 5.4g Monounsaturated
  • 76mg  Cholesterol
  • 1.3mg Iron

Did you know?

  • They feel empathy toward others
  • They can identify up to 100 other chickens and also specific humans
  • They experience Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep like dogs and humans
  • The bit under the roosters chin is called a wattle
  • Fear of chickens is Alektorophobia
  • The chicken genome was the first bird completed - in 2004
  • There are at least 24 billion chickens in the world ( way more that the number of humans!!!!)
  • They can see colours
  • They can live up to 20 years
  • Can't taste sweetness
  • They don't have teeth, so slurp or swallow food and their stomach breaks it up.
  • They have more than 30 vocalisations,including specific alarm sounds for specific predators and situations
  • They can solve complex problems and unlike human babies understand object permanence (in other words if an object is taken away, they know that it still exists)
  • They have a boss and a set "pecking order"
  • In 2013/14 nearly 1200000 tonnes of chicken meat was produced in Australia
  • It is expected that in 2015 /16 the average consumption of chicken will be at least 45 kg per person per year.
  • Baby chickens are called chicks, Pullets are those female chickens which have not yet laid and they are Hens when they do. Roosters, Cocks and Cockerels are the male chickens.
  • They can run at up to 9 miles per hour
  • The longest recorded flight was 13 seconds
  • They are the closest living relative to TRex.

If you have found these facts about chicken interesting, why not download your FREE copy of Five Hundred Foodie Facts at and amaze your friend and family.

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