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Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Here is what the USDA says: Countertop
Chicken can not be thawed safely on the counter. Harmful bacteria can grow between 40F and 140F. Freezing does not kill bacteria, it just stops it from growing so bacteria will continue to multiple if your thawing chicken on the countertop.
Bacteria must be consumed on food to cause illness according to the USDA. If you doubt that your chicken is safe do not taste it. When in doubt throw it out.
That said I have done that before and it was ok but probably best to err on the side of caution. I've had food poisoning and its no joke. Have to go with your gut feeling about this.
Definitely toss it. Anything that sits out in the "danger zone" (40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit) for more than a couple hours will breed bacteria like crazy. Doesn't matter if it's in the original packaging - chickens will still pick up a small amount of bacteria at the processing plant.
If you're going to eat it anyway, which you really shouldn't, you need to overcook it - take it to at least 165 degrees to kill off the salmonella. 170 is better.
The only safe ways to thaw meat are a) in the fridge, which takes 24-48 hours, b) in the microwave, or c) under cold running water in the sink for no more than about an hour. Basically, you want to minimize the amount of time in the "danger zone" so that the bacteria don't have as much time to reproduce.
Safe cooking :)
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
Chicken should definitely be thawed in the refridgerator and NOT on a counter top. Better still, stick to fresh not frozen chickens.
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
The collective wisdom here is absolutely right: toss it and get a new one. Cheap insurance.
Thanks...not what I wanted to hear, but exactly what my head was trying to tell me!
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