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Raw chicken becomes contaminated with bacteria from the gut, skin and feet of the birds during slaughter and from the water and ice used in processing. Chilling the carcass immediately after slaughter reduces the number of microbes on most meats because it dries the surfaces. However this has less effect on chickens because their skin can stay moist. The raw chicken is stored at a low temperature which reduces the rate at which bacteria reproduce. Eventually cold-loving microbes such as Pseudomonas will cause spoilage, making the meat smelly and slimy. Other factors which affect the rate of spoilage are pH and the type of packaging.
In the home chicken should be cooked thoroughly, handled hygienically, wrapped to prevent contamination by microbes from the air or other foods, cooled quickly and stored at 05°C. Refrigeration will slow the growth of microbes but it will eventually spoil. Cooked chicken should be eaten up quickly.