How long is chicken good past the sell-by date?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How long is chicken good past the sell-by date?” and will discuss how long chicken is safe to consume after the sell-by date?

How long is chicken good past the sell-by date?

Fresh chicken may be kept refrigerated for up to two days beyond the sell-by date, according to the FDA. While frozen chicken, it lasts nine months.

How Long Is Chicken Safe to Eat? How Many Days Until It Expires?

“Sell-by” dates on raw chicken packages are meant to help the retailer, but you may use them to determine whether the chicken is unsafe for consumption. Because bacteria begin to develop within a day or two after such a date, the chicken rapidly loses its quality. If the chicken has been on the shelf for more than two weeks, it is no longer fit for human consumption.

The “sell-by” date on the box may expire during this time, but if the chicken has been properly preserved, it will still be safe to eat after the sell-by date has passed. The sell-by dates generally do not refer to food safety concerns but merely serve as an indicator of “best quality”. Consequently, a significant portion of perishable food is mismanaged and disposed of earlier than necessary, resulting in more food waste (1).  

You should cook or freeze raw chicken within two days after purchase, according to the USDA foodkeeper data online. However, the chicken’s sell-by date is July 14–three days away. Is this even feasible at all? My fridge is exactly like the store’s, so why wouldn’t I be able to eat it if I purchased it there tomorrow?

For the retailer to know when the goods must be disposed of rather than sold, the sell-by date must be included in the product’s label. As long as the beef product is fresh, people may eat it for up to three days before it becomes unsafe to do so.

Checking the expiration date is also recommended by some. They claim that cooking raw chicken beyond the expiration date is harmful to human health. 2 to 3 days beyond a chicken’s sell-by date, if it has been properly kept or frozen, it may still be eaten. 

Once the chicken has achieved its shelf life end, some changes due to quality loss and deterioration will be noticed. The changes that occur in meat are generally enzymatic or chemical and are influenced by a number of environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, oxygen and light, which result in physical, chemical or microbiological changes leading to deterioration. Physical changes associated with boning and mincing, for example, will contaminate the meat and favor bacterial growth. Release of enzymes during these physical processes can also have an effect on product quality, particularly during long-term, frozen storage. In the case of frozen foods, temperature fluctuations can lead to a build-up of ice crystals; sublimation of water from exposed parts can cause localized dehydration (freezer burn), which can lead to oxidative rancidity. Therefore, more important than the “best-by” date are the storage conditions (2).

Does the Sell-By Date on Chicken Apply to you?

Meat and poultry expiry dates help gauge quality, but they aren’t strictly enforced for your safety. Meat and poultry expiry dates help gauge quality, but they aren’t strictly enforced for your safety.

Date of Expiration for Chickens, if you don’t keep your food correctly, it will last a shorter length of time. To be on the safe side, keep in mind that most proteins are marked with a “sell by” date, rather than an “expiration” date. It’s okay to utilize it for a short time after the sell-by date has expired because of this distinction. “Sell-by” date gives an estimation of when the product will have its best quality, rather than if it is still safe to eat. Certainly, fresh food has improved nutritional and sensory characteristics when compared to food that has been stored for long periods. However, preventing from unnecessary food waste is also an important environmental issue (1)

Most of us check for an expiry date, sell-by date, or use-by date on the container of packaged items when buying them. It’s not always clear what those expiration dates signify, so if you find anything in your fridge or pantry that has beyond the expiration date, you may be unsure about whether or not it’s still safe to consume.

Having a “sell-by” date helps the meat counter workers know when a bundle should be put on the display or taken off. A sell-by date on the chicken is little more than a reminder to the store’s employees. No information will be provided, not even if you wish to dump the chicken outdoors.

“It’s not uncommon for meat to change color. There’s nothing to worry about if it doesn’t smell or feel sticky and was purchased before the “sell by” date. You don’t want anything that smells or is sticky.” Find out more: Here’s how to detect whether a piece of chicken is safe to eat based on its color. It’s better to be safe than sorry if you’re still unsure.

For how long can you keep the raw chicken in the refrigerator or freezer?

Use only chicken that has been tagged with a sell-by or use-by date in mind. Wrap in a lightweight plastic bag given by the merchant and secure it with a knot. Unwrapped commodities such as fresh fruits and vegetables should be bagged individually. Assume a half-pound per adult for boneless chops and one-and-a-half pounds for bone-in and roasting sections.

Best before and sell-by dates are present on chicken broth, although the product seldom carries an expiry date or a “use-by” date. When properly kept and used, it is safe to utilize chicken broth beyond the best-by date. To keep your chicken broth fresh, you should keep it in a cold, dark, and dry location.

It doesn’t matter whether a package’s expiration date has passed as frozen chicken is safe permanently. Whole raw chicken may be stored in the freezer for up to a year; portions can be stored for nine months, and giblets or minced chicken can be stored for three to four months, according to the USDA foodkeeper data online.

Animal Welfare Certified local, organic, and grass-fed meats are available in our Meat category. Find dry-aged steaks, house-made sausages, air-chilled poultry, and much more. What’s up? Our butchers can chop, season, and marinate your meat to your specifications.

Poultry meat is of great concern regarding foodborne illness. The most prevalent and serious emerging pathogens of poultry, and derived products are Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella Typhimurium DT104, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and other enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), Listeria monocytogenes, Arcobacter butzleri, Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, and Aeromonas hydrophila. Therefore, safe storage conditions, handling and cooking are important to avoid such contaminations. Meat products must be well cooked and not eaten raw, especially when the product has extended “sell-by” date (3).

When it comes to chicken, how essential is the “sell-by” date?

Every year, billions of pounds of food are thrown away due to confusion about date labels. The distinction between “sell-by,” “use-by,” and “best-by” dates is explained by an expert.

When is the best time to buy? The length of time we keep a product on the shelf is indicated by this number. Buying perishable goods before the sell-by date ensures that you obtain the freshest possible product. use by date Specifies the date by which the product should be used while it is still at its peak quality.

If properly stored, it is claimed that food products may be consumed for up to ten days beyond the “sell-by” date. There are frequently “sell-by” dates on meat and poultry. You should freeze meat if you don’t plan to use it within a couple of days after buying. Spoilage due to oxidative rancidity releases volatile compounds which can be detected. Microbial spoilage can lead to off-flavors and odors, and release of enzymes by the bacteria can also change the structure of the meat, or in its texture. Therefore, it is necessary to be aware of any physical or sensorial sign of deterioration of the product and not to consume it when these signs are present (2).

Date Labels : Best Buy, Sell By, and Use By Definitions of Expiration. In certain circumstances, date labels aren’t as rigorous as they should be. Our recommendation is to have a look at Consumer Reports’ outstanding breakdown of the subject. These dates are only a general guideline for a variety of different things. A “sell by” date, rather than a “use by” date, is more common for fresh chicken.

Other FAQs about Chicken that you may be interested in.

How long is chicken good in the fridge?

Can you eat 2 year old frozen chicken?

Can I eat cooked chicken 6 days old?


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How long is chicken good past the sell-by date?” and discussed how long chicken is safe to consume after the sell-by date?


  1. Yu, Yang, and Edward C. Jaenicke. The effect of sell-by dates on purchase volume and food waste. Food Policy, 2021, 98, 101879.
  2. Woods, L. F. J., and P. N. Church. Strategies for extending the shelf-life of poultry meat and products. Poultry Meat Sci Symp Ser. Richardson, RL and Mead, GC (eds.). CABI, Publishing, UK. Vol. 25. 1999.
  3. Mor-Mur, Montserrat, and Josep Yuste. Emerging bacterial pathogens in meat and poultry: an overview. Food Bioproc Technol, 2010, 3, 24-35.

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