Safe Handling


Handling Poultry Safety

What We Do.

At Bell & Evans we take every precaution to ensure the chicken we offer you is safe. It starts on the farm where we enforce stringent bio-security practices for each flock.

For over 20 years, Bell & Evans voluntarily takes samples from each flock to screen for the avian influenza virus. In the unlikely event of an outbreak, birds would be handled according to USDA guidelines.  More Info

 What You Do.

When you bring it home, you need to observe some simple safe-handling guidelines when preparing chicken.

  • Keep raw chicken separate from other foods.
  • You can refrigerate fresh chicken from 24-48 hours. If you don't plan to use it within that time, freeze immediately.
  • Thoroughly wash all surfaces that come in contact with the chicken - including cutting boards, utensils and remember to wash your hands after touching raw chicken.
  • Cook chicken thoroughly. For safety, cook chicken to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F as measured by the use of a meat thermometer. Place the tip of the thermometer into the center of of the meat. We cannot stress enough the importance of using a meat thermometer when cooking chicken. Many times you cannot tell, just by looking, if chicken is fully cooked.
  • On the packaging of our convenience foods, we suggest cooking times. These time will vary, depending on the accuracy of your oven's temperature.
  • Once cooked, keep foods hot. Refrigerate leftovers immediately or discard.
Like other raw foods, poultry should be handled with care to minimize the risk of foodborne illness. Most foodborne illness is caused by storing foods at room temperature, cooking or reheating at too low a temperature, or for too short a time, keeping cooked foods at room temperature, washing hands improperly, using poor personal hygiene, and using the same utensils and serving dishes for raw and cooked foods.

Proper washing of hands and utensils is a crucial step in the prevention of food-related illness. Wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds immediately before you start cooking and between cooking tasks and dry them on clean towel. Use separate cutting boards for raw meats, cooked meats, and vegetables and fruit.

An important food safety rule to remember is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Most disease-causing bacteria are killed at temperatures above 140oF. To ensure all disease-causing bacteria are killed throughout unevenly shaped poultry pieces; internal temperature recommendations are slightly higher-165o-180o F., depending on the part. Bacteria are not killed at temperatures below 40oF., but low temperatures slow their growth. So adjust your refrigerator to keep the temperature no higher than 40oF.

Most foods can safely remain at temperatures between 40oF. and 140oF. for no more than 2 hours, including serving time and time cooling in the refrigerator. Foods kept in a chafing dish that is hotter than 140oF. can be held for about 4 hours. To chill cooked foods as quickly as possible, place them in a covered shallow pan or container in the refrigerator or freezer immediately after the meal is finished. Use the leftovers within 2 to 4 days. Reheat leftovers to at least 165oF.

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