Young woman trying to prepare chicken soup in kitchen

Why is chicken from the poultry industry safe?

The chicken industry not only takes care of the welfare of the animals it breeds to provide food for the whole world, but also ensures that they are safe until they reach our table.

The entire supply chain has a system of continuous monitoring and inspections by both producers and processors to guarantee consumers.

These are procedures that verify quality and food safety training, hygiene and sanitation protocols and the controls in place to eliminate food-borne pathogens.


Safety in the chicken production process is everywhere

Safety in the poultry chain is present from before the chicken hatches from the egg. The hens that produce the fertilised eggs are cared for by veterinarians and professional breeders because only healthy breeding hens produce healthy eggs and thus healthy chicks.

In protected rearing systems, in the transition from egg to chicken, the chicks also inherit the hens’ maternal antibodies that protect them from disease.

Before the chicks arrive at the farm, they are then vaccinated against various viruses and the farm undergoes various sanitisation operations.


What do chicken farmers do for food safety?

Breeders play one of the most important roles in protecting birds from disease, predators and parasites.


When the chicken is then directed to the processing that will bring it to our tables, every operation and every step is monitored and inspected by the ‘food health control agencies’ of the country in which the activity takes place, who are responsible for inspecting the chicken processing plants.

Experts are present at every stage of processing to ensure that every chicken product is safe, healthy and correctly labelled and packaged. Among these controls, the most important ones are:

  • The processing of meat at the set fresh temperature.
  • Washing to reduce potential food-borne pathogens.
  • They pass through metal detectors and X-rays to ensure that each package is free of any foreign bodies.
  • Microbiological testing to ensure food safety.


The chicken’s journey to our table

After processing, the chicken is shipped by refrigerated and sanitised means to shops, restaurants and distribution centres, often arriving at retailers the same day or the day after leaving the production plant.


Do you know what ‘poultry product traceability’ means?

The poultry industry adopts a system that allows each poultry product to be traced in order to be able to intervene promptly and on time should the (very rare) case of a problem of any kind occur. When there is even a doubt concerning the quality and safety of a batch of products, through the coding and labelling system, products can be precisely identified and, if necessary, removed from the market. Furthermore, when these rare cases occur, the supply chain always learns from the incident by analysing and verifying the causes to identify and prevent them from happening again.


Traceability continues at home: from fridge to cooker

If the chicken you buy has to be cooked by you, it is very important to ensure your food safety with simple, but important, precautions that apply both to the way you handle the chicken until the moment you eat it, and in general to any other food you buy in the supermarket and then store in the fridge:


  • Remember to separate any raw meat, chicken, seafood and eggs from other foods
  • It is best if you can make this separation in the shopping trolley, the shopping bags, the refrigerator and the kitchen.
  • You should not rinse raw chicken meat in the sink because the bacteria on any raw animal foodstuff could, with washing, pass over the sink and everything near it (cutlery, plates, glasses, vegetables and even other ready-to-eat food).
  • However, be aware that all bacteria in raw meat and poultry are neutralised (killed) when you cook them (making sure that the cooking process reaches the inside).
  • Check that the section of the refrigerator where you put the raw chicken is at 4°C or lower.
  • If, on the other hand, you have frozen the chicken, do not thaw it on the work surface or even using cold water, but leave it to thaw in the fridge.
  • Remember not to make the mistake of using the plate where the raw chicken was to serve the chicken when you have cooked it.
  • The hygiene of hands and surfaces in contact with chicken meat and any other food is important: it serves to avoid cross-contamination and to ensure the safety of the food to be consumed.
  • The colour of cooked chicken is not a sure sign that it is safe inside: cook it at temperatures that ensure that cooking also reaches the inside of the meat.
  • Leftover cooked chicken keep them in the fridge in a tightly closed container or wrapped in cling film. You can eat them (preferably warm them up) up to 2 or 3 days after cooking.


It is important for every consumer to keep these food safety measures in mind so as not to nullify the thousands of cares that the chicken receives from the egg to your home.


The editorial staff of M.A.C.