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Chicken is a great source of lean protein that works well in many types of dishes. It also freezes well, so keeping a small chicken or breast cutlets handy in the freezer is a convenient way to make sure you always have some meat handy for your next meal. Once defrosted, raw chicken requires special handling to prevent the spread of salmonella and other types of pathogenic bacteria responsible for food poisoning. Learning how to properly defrost chicken will ensure your chicken thaws in time for your next venture into cooking without compromising best food safety practices.

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1. Handling raw chicken safely

The one thing to avoid when handling raw chicken is cross-contamination. This means having the juices from the raw meat touching other foods you’re likely to eat raw, such as fruits and certain vegetables. One of the best ways to avoid this is to consistently use a dedicated plastic cutting board, preferably one that's color-coded so you always know you're using the right board when preparing raw chicken. Plastic cutting boards are easy to wash off with soap and hot water or can be popped into the dishwasher.

defrosting chicken cross contamination webphotographeer / Getty Images
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