Put frozen chicken into fridge four days ago, is it safe to eat tonight?
February 13, 2014 6:32 PM   Subscribe

I put frozen boned-in chicken thighs into the fridge on Sunday night (four nights ago). Is it safe to cook and eat tonight (Thursday night)?

On Tuesday, I looked at the package of chicken and it didn't look like it had defrosted completely yet; there were still ice crystals on the chicken.

The USDA says this: "After thawing in the refrigerator, items such as ground meat, stew meat, poultry, seafood, should remain safe and good quality for an additional day or two before cooking; red meat cuts (such as beef, pork or lamb roasts, chops and steaks) 3 to 5 days. Food thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking, although there may be some loss of quality."

By "thawing in the refrigerator" do they mean putting it in the fridge (which I did Sunday and I should probably throw it out) or do they mean they mean the chicken is no longer frozen after hanging out in the fridge (which was about two nights ago and the chicken may be okay).

I'm new at the freezing and defrosting thing; I'm used to buying fresh meat right before I cook it. So what do you say?
posted by mbidi to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Raw chicken that spoils can be particularly stinky, which is actually a handy thing. I'm betting on the latter definition of the USDA statement - it says "after thawing" which to me indicates after it is fully thawed, which takes a day or so in the fridge. I would open it, sniff it, and probably end up cooking it.
posted by Ouisch at 6:38 PM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

If I am planning on eating frozen meat, I put it in the fridge to thaw 36-48 hours before I am planning to cook it to ensure that it is thawed. I would totally eat that chicken.
posted by looli at 6:46 PM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I wouldn't worry about this for 1 second. It's fine.
posted by Miko at 6:47 PM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Another vote for eat. Cook first, though.
posted by trip and a half at 6:47 PM on February 13, 2014 [11 favorites]

Of course it's fine.
posted by rocketman at 7:01 PM on February 13, 2014

If your fridge is at a safe temperature (under 40 F) where you put the chicken, I would eat it without hesitation. Frankly, if it was in a slightly warmer part of the fridge, and it didn't smell awful, I'd eat it too. Of course, in either case I would cook it first….
posted by brianogilvie at 7:01 PM on February 13, 2014

Eat it, it's not really spent any time at bad temperatures.
posted by pompomtom at 7:02 PM on February 13, 2014

I think it means after it's thawed completely, there's about a day or two left in it. And honestly, considering that a lot of "fresh" fish sold is flash-frozen fish that's thawed at the store and isn't eaten within two days, I think that's a really conservative estimate.

I would eat it.
posted by gingerest at 7:02 PM on February 13, 2014

Bacteria can thrive on raw chicken in the fridge. Assuming it was "frozen" for the first of the four nights, that's still 3 nights in your fridge.

I would hesitate before eating it, notably if you have removed it from the original package.

If you have not removed it from the original package, what was the expiration date?
posted by KokuRyu at 7:05 PM on February 13, 2014

I'd eat it.
posted by number9dream at 7:08 PM on February 13, 2014

If it's gone from store fridge/freezer, directly to your freezer then back to your fridge without warming in the meantime, I'd eat it. If you chucked it in the freezer after it was in your fridge for a week...I'd...probably still eat it, but would advise you to be more hesitant depending on your risk tolerance.
posted by pianissimo at 7:20 PM on February 13, 2014

Did the chicken go straight into the freezer after you bought it? Or did it sit in your fridge for several days before you froze it? If it's the latter case, I would toss it.

Another factor to consider is the general temperature of your fridge. My fridge has a tendency to keep things really cold (sodas have been known to freeze and subsequently explode if left in the back of the fridge), so I would probably be inclined to cook chicken that had been in my particular fridge for 4 days after being frozen.

Also, I have no underlying health conditions and a pretty hardy stomach, as well as a strong aversion to wasting food, so I'm usually willing to risk it in edge cases like this, but if I open a package of chicken and it smells off at all, I wouldn't hesitate to throw it out.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:23 PM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Personally I wouldn't eat it, but it's probably 99 percent safe. The older things get, the less tasty they are, over and above any food safety issues.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:52 PM on February 13, 2014

If it didn't stink, I'd eat it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:25 AM on February 14, 2014

I'd definitely eat it, if it wasn't even slightly slimy or stinky.
posted by h00py at 5:31 AM on February 14, 2014

I'd totally eat it.
posted by bink at 9:21 AM on February 14, 2014

Without hesitation I would cook and eat it.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:57 AM on February 14, 2014

Oh - and please report back with your results:

a) Did you take the advice of the hive mind?
b) IF you ate it, did you live to tell the tale?

(Somebody should set up the Ask Metafilter "Should I Eat This?" database:
n people went ahead and ate it,
(n-y) reported back that they lived through the experiment,
no more than y questioners are MIA....)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 3:51 PM on February 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

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