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  • Fridge time: (whole, parts, ground or giblets) 1 to 2 days

  • Freezer time: To assure quality, follow these freezing guidelines: whole - 12 months; parts - 9 months; ground - 3 to 4 months; giblets - 3 to 4 months.

If a use-by date expires while the chicken is frozen, the product can still be used.


Boneless chicken breasts will usually defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Bone-in parts and whole chickens may take 1 to 2 days or longer. Once the raw chicken defrosts, it can be kept in the refrigerator an additional day or two before cooking. During this time, if chicken defrosted in the refrigerator is not used, it can safely be refrozen without cooking first.

If using microwave or cold water submersion methods of defrosting, following the general safe handling instructions.
Chicken may be marinated in the refrigerator up to 2 days. Boil used marinade before brushing it on cooked chicken and discard any uncooked leftover marinade.

If you intend to stuff a chicken, it must be stuffed immediately before cooking. Some USDA-inspected frozen stuffed whole chicken MUST be cooked from the frozen state to ensure a safely cooked product. Follow cooking instructions on the label.


The USDA recommends cooking chicken to a minimum of 165F to ensure safety.

Higher temperatures may be used to achieve the texture and degree of doneness that consumers prefer.

Note: Pregnant women, children, elderly and immuno-compromised individuals can be at an increased risk of developing foodborne illnesses that can have dire consequences. Additional care should be taken for safe handling.

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