How to Handle and Prepare Poultry Safely

While poultry is a popular lunch and dinner item that tastes great and is relatively easy to prepare, you must take some specific stems when handling and preparing it in order to achieve optimal results. This guide will teach you the best way to handle and prepare poultry safely. Handling poultry properly is essential in order to maintain good health for both yourself and for your family.

Choose the Poultry

The first step in handling and preparing poultry safely is to actually buy poultry that is fresh and healthy. Go to a reputable meat market or grocery store and closely examine the poultry. The skin of the poultry should appear moist without being wet, should be free from blood, scabs, or dirt, and should spring back when touched. If you are purchasing frozen poultry, make sure that there is no freezer burn on the poultry–this can indicate that the item has thawed and been refrozen, which can be very dangerous. If you notice any suspicious activity that concerns you, don’t purchase poultry from that particular market.

Refrigerate the Poultry

Once you have purchased the poultry, try to get it home in as timely a manner as possible. Remember that poultry is a perishable item, and can be affected by both heat and humidity. Once you get the poultry home, examine your refrigerator to make sure that it will store the item at the proper temperature. In order to prevent disease or contamination, poultry should be kept at a temperature of between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the thermometer is accurate and is in working order. If you suspect that your thermometer isn’t working properly, purchase a new one immediately. 

Preparing Poultry

When it is time to prepare the poultry, there are important steps you must take to both ensure the safety and health of the item. Start by washing your hands with soap and warm water before handling the poultry.This will prevent any germs or bacteria that may be currently living on your hands from contaminating the poultry. Locate a sharp knife and use it to trim off any excess fat and skin. If you are concerned that using a knife to remove the skin will be too difficult (or you will puncture the poultry meat), consider using your hands. Poultry skin is relatively easy to remove and can be done by hand with ease. Carefully remove the giblets from the inside of the chicken or turkey. Dispose of them, or if you prefer they can be saved and used to make soup or gravy. Finally, sprinkle the poultry with salt, pepper, and other seasonings of your choice and roast.


After you have placed the poultry into the oven, you must clean all utensils and surfaces used. Make sure to wash all cutting boards, knives, plates, utensils and any other surfaces that may have come in contact with the poultry with warm, soapy water. This will prevent the spread of bacteria and disease.


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