Safe to Eat? Cooked Chicken ... One Week Old
October 13, 2014 4:29 AM   Subscribe

I checked archives but found no question similar to this one: Roasted a chicken last Monday. Tore it into shreds, was still warm when we put it away in the fridge. In a plastic container, somewhat airtight. However, have taken it out once and opened the container. But promptly forgot about it until today. Safe to eat?
posted by moiraine to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: "However, have taken it out once and opened the container" - meaning, I opened it to check, and then closed it again. So, semi-airtight-ish.
posted by moiraine at 4:30 AM on October 13, 2014

I wouldn't eat it, and I'd eat many things that other mefites recoil at. It is kind of just on the wrong side of my personal boundary of what I'd still consider eating. My husband would definitely eat it, for what that's worth.
posted by lollusc at 4:36 AM on October 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

5 days is my upper limit. But, like lollusc, I too have a spouse that would eat it.

And, then there's this...
posted by HuronBob at 4:41 AM on October 13, 2014

That moist, warm, enclosed environment that the chicken sat in while cooling is what would make me not eat it. Had it been cooled on, say, a cookie sheet and then transferred into a closed container, I might at least consider it, because it would have cooled more quickly.
posted by bilabial at 5:09 AM on October 13, 2014

How does it smell? If it smells good and the first tiny taste is OK I'd probably eat it.
posted by Segundus at 5:19 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Same as Segundus, although I would have thought the flavour and texture might have begun to degrade by now even if there's no bacteria.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:34 AM on October 13, 2014

I wouldn't eat chicken past about three or four days.

You can leave cooked food out for about 4+ hours before it is risky, so in future try leaving food out to cool completely before putting away. If you shut it in an airtight container while warm, it creates condensation on the inside of the container. A chef told me that bacteria like to grow in that condensation. And if the food's warm enough, it can also raise the temperature of your fridge, which kind of defeats the whole purpose. :)
posted by kinddieserzeit at 5:36 AM on October 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

There is no way I would eat that now and I probably wouldn't even have eaten it two days ago. And I eat plenty of things past their best before date. Chuck it. It's not worth eating bad poultry that could potentially make you very ill to save a few dollars.
posted by futureisunwritten at 6:01 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

It depends on how busy your next few days are scheduled to be. If you can spare a few days to be sick, then go for it.

Sorry to joke. No. Don't eat it. Why risk it?
posted by kinetic at 6:08 AM on October 13, 2014

I don't think you would die if you ate it, but the quality is probably greatly reduced / blandified.
posted by WeekendJen at 6:10 AM on October 13, 2014

I eat plenty of leftovers past the date when my wife considers them safe, but 7 days is too long.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:15 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Good god, no.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:20 AM on October 13, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you all! I opened the container today, and I was 80% meaning to throw them away. However, when I opened the container, it still smelled very wonderfully chickenly and lovely. So, despite it all, I decided to eat it (after boiling it in water for 5 minutes and then chucking in ramen and kimchi).

I'm doing fine... (if my condition changes, I will let you know!)

I marked this as resolved, and if anyone else comes across this question later, I do not recommend eating the chicken either and wished I had the willpower to throw it away! But hopefully you will find my anecdote useful.
posted by moiraine at 7:01 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

You took it out once _and then put it back in the refrigerator_, right?

If so, and it looks okay (no mold etc) and smells okay, then you should be fine.
posted by doctor tough love at 7:29 AM on October 13, 2014

Was it in the fridge all this time? If it was in the fridge it's fine, if not then smell and taste mean nothing (as always) and it's dangerous by far. Reheating doesn't necessarily help either.

I know it's too late, but the whole smell and taste myth actively hurts people and needs to die.
posted by shelleycat at 7:31 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

How does it smell? If it smells good and the first tiny taste is OK I'd probably eat it.

Smell/taste testing can only definitively prove something is bad. Not all pathogens that spoil food will produce noticeable odours or flavours even when the food is already toxic.

after boiling it in water for 5 minutes

For future reference, boiling won't necessarily remove all toxins. With some pathogens, it's what they leave behind that will hurt you, not the organisms themselves.

cred level: pro chef, public health-issued food handling certification.

Bit late now, but I probably would have eaten this myself, because I know my fridge and my food handling. I would never, however, recommend anyone else to eat something in these circumstances, nor would I serve it to someone else.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:34 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

Have eaten, would do again.
posted by turkeyphant at 8:46 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

For reference. When I was managing cafeterias, the standard for most meats was to refrigerate for no more than 3 days (overnight for stuff like eggs).
posted by jmd82 at 9:38 AM on October 13, 2014

no. you tore it into shreds, which vastly increases the surface area to mass ratio, and bacteria propagate on the surfaces. the clock done run out on this one.
posted by bruce at 11:17 AM on October 13, 2014

I'd have eaten it without a second thought.

OTOH, I keep my fridge very near freezing, because I expect to keep leftovers a week or more. Temp of your fridge matters; until you get sick, all these rules of thumb are very subjective guesses - because an incredible array of variables are at play.

Mostly, good-smelling food is safe. Except for that. And that. But mostly.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:36 PM on October 13, 2014

Mostly, good-smelling food is safe. Except for that. And that. But mostly.

Really, really, no. Food that smells off is definitively bad. Food that doesn't smell off may or may not be bad, and enormous surface area + warm moist environment to start + a week old is much more likely than not to be bad.

Smells good + you know the product's history and there are no red flags = good, barring upstream contamination before it got to you

Smells good + red flags = might or might not be, more likely not

Smells good = fine is, as shellycat said, a myth. It actively hurts people.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:31 PM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I agree with fffm (and am a doctor for whatever that's worth), but I still would have eaten it. I know logically that it might not really be safe at that point, but I also know that I eat dodgy stuff all the time and never get sick, so I would have done the same as you, recooked it thoroughly and eaten it. I truly rarely ever get food poisoning despite being extremely lax about food safety, whereas my husband gets a nasty case of food poisoning several times annually and he is one of the most cautious people I know about food safety. I'm not completely sure why this is, but it could be partly because I eat a good amount of yogurt and he takes an acid-reducing medication.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:45 PM on October 13, 2014

Throw it out for the ghosts.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:20 PM on October 13, 2014

Response by poster: The Next Day Report After Eating One-Week-Old Cooked Chicken: No food poisoning symptoms.

I did a personal risk-reward assessment, figured that it may or may not safe, but seeing that I have a fairly robust tummy with no serious incidents of food poisoning in my life (even growing up in a country where outside food can be really, REALLY dodgy), and that I cooked the chicken myself in our kitchen, and that our fridge is fairly cold, and that I really wanted protein in my ramen for lunch, and the nearest supermarket was too far away, and that I wasn't pregnant and harming any fetus, and that the chicken smelled fine, I chose to take the risk. But YMMV.

(I grew up in a country where standards of food safety are much lower than developed country standards, so my tummy may be/ is stronger than most.)
posted by moiraine at 2:00 AM on October 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

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