Pathogens (disease-causing organisms) like Campylobacter, Salmonella and Listeria are found almost everywhere in our daily environment, including on raw chicken meat. If proper safe food handling practices are not followed, serious illness can result.

As part of its commitment to reducing foodborne illnesses, PIANZ strongly supports the following key messages about handling, storing and cooking poultry:


  • Do not wash chicken.
  • Wash hands and equipment thoroughly in hot soapy water after handling raw chicken to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Do not place cooked product on plates used for raw poultry.
  • Use separate boards for chopping raw chicken and other foods


  • Always store raw chicken on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator below all other foods.
  • Thaw completely in a refrigerator or in a microwave, prior to cooking.
  • Do not thaw on a bench or under running water.
  • Once thawed, cook within 24 hours.
  • Do not refreeze after thawing.
  • Always cover raw chicken.
  • Best practice – If refrigerating cooked chicken for later use, do so as soon as possible after initial cooking.


  • Chicken must be cooked thoroughly before consumption.
  • Cook poultry (e.g. chicken, duck, chicken livers) and minced or finely ground meat (e.g. sausages, meat patties) to specific temperatures for a set amount of time to make sure they are safe.
  • Follow all cooking and storage directions on the labelling, e.g. “This is a raw product. It must be fully cooked before consumption.

How to Prepare and Cook Chicken

Watch NZ chef Annabelle White show how to prepare and cook chicken, with tips on food safety and some great ways to present a tasty chicken dinner.