What happens if you eat bad chicken?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “What happens if you eat bad chicken” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications associated with consuming a bad chicken. Moreover, we are going to discuss the indicators of bad chicken and the people more prone to Salmonella food poisoning.

What happens if you eat bad chicken?

Eating a bad chicken is associated with food poisoning owing to the presence of E.coli, Campylobacter, and Salmonella on the chicken. 

Chicken is a highly nutritious food commodity that is not only a rich source of protein but also provides many essential nutrients that are needed for the proper growth and nourishment of the body. Chicken if on one hand is highly nutritious, on the other hand, it is also a highly perishable commodity that can be attached by bacteria quickly which can degrade its quality.

So if due to any reason, bacteria somehow found their way to your chicken and have spoiled it then the best thing you should do is to discard it.

The most common case that you can see regarding the consumption of bad chicken is the incidence of food poisoning. 

As the chicken belongs to the meat group that is a highly perishable food commodity and can have E.coli or Salmonella present in it which can cause food poisoning which is characterized by abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

  1. Diarrhea is an indication of the body that a certain obnoxious agent has entered it. So consumption of bad chicken or bacteria-laden chicken often causes diarrhea.
  1. Food poisoning after consuming a bad chicken is characterized by abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is also accompanied by vomiting and nausea in most cases.
  1. If you have consumed a chicken that has microbial growth in it then you will experience nausea and vomiting which is the natural defense of the body to get rid of the unwanted harmful substance that has entered the body.
  2. Consuming a chicken that has gone bad will also raise your body temperature and you can experience fever which is the natural defense mechanism of your body and is the indicator that something is off with your body.

Therefore you should immediately take medical help and try to drink as much water as possible so that while the body is getting rid of the toxins in form of diarrhea and vomiting, the water that you drink will protect your body against dehydration that vomiting can otherwise result in.

Another point that you can’t completely ignore is the potential presence of Campylobacter in the chicken. The chicken that itself is suffering from botulism, if it is consumed by humans, it can even induce botulism in them, moreover if somehow the chicken got in contact with feces, Campylobacter can find its way to the chicken. 

So you should take care, because if by chance you consume a chicken that has Campylobacter Botulinum in it then it can cause botulism that is a deadly condition and is often characterized by dizziness, blurred vision, difficulty in breathing, weakness, and trouble speaking.

Salmonella food poisoning

No doubt that consuming a bad chicken will induce food poisoning in the individual that consumed it but some vulnerable populations are more prone to Salmonella food poisoning if they consume a bad chicken. They are

  1. Elderly people especially those that are above the age of 65
  1. Children that are aged under 5 as their immune system is weak as compared to the adults
  1. Pregnant women
  1. Immunocompromised people have a very weak immune system and are already suffering from diseases like HIV or the people that have recently got a transplant or have gone through surgery.

Therefore such people should take more care while consuming food and should always check if the chicken they are going to consume is a good one or a spoiled one.

Indicators of bad chicken

  1. If you can see the color of the chicken change to grey-green or if you can spot molds of grey-green color on the surface of the chicken then it is the indication that your chicken has gone bad.
  1. If you can feel something slimy while touching the chicken then it means that your chicken has gone bad. 
  1. But keep one thing in mind that rinsing the chicken won’t help you in this scenario as you won’t be able to get rid of the bacteria.

 Rather rinsing the bacteria-laden chicken will put you at risk of cross-contamination as the bacteria will spread in the utensils and other food items that will come in contact with the water from the chicken that has gone bad.

  1. If you can smell something acidic or sour then it means that your chicken has gone bad and you should discard it.  Noticing this particular smell can be difficult in cases where you have marinated the chicken with spices and condiments.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “What happens if you eat bad chicken” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications associated with consuming a bad chicken. Moreover, we discussed the indicators of bad chicken and the people more prone to Salmonella food poisoning.





Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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