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Next time you pop into Coles for a hot cooked roast chicken, you may want to keep this small, but important detail in mind.
A Coles shopper pointed out the store’s popular quick and easy meal choice had a best before date of just 24 hours.
Taking to Facebook, the Melbourne customer asked whether this detail was indeed correct.
“Is it a normal thing for the best before date to be a day after it’s cooked and bought?” she wrote on the Coles Facebook page.
Like many others, she assumed it would keep in the fridge at least a couple of days after.
The product’s unusually short shelf-life also left some other shoppers scratching their heads.
Hot roast chickens shelf-life explained
Coles responded to the shopper saying that their roast chickens should indeed be consumed within 24 hours.
“Coles RSPCA Approved Hot Roast Chickens are cooked in store daily, and are one of our top selling items,” the spokesperson said.
“They make a delicious and convenient meal for the whole family and we recommend consuming within 24 hours to ensure maximum freshness and taste, in line with the printed Best Before date.”
Coles isn’t the only store that has a 24-hour used-by-date on their hot chickens.
American retail giant Costco, which also sells cooked barbecue chickens, has a similar policy.
Yahoo News Australia has contacted Coles for further comment.
Who determines the date?
When it comes to how the shelf life of in-store cooked roast chickens is determined, it’s the supermarket retailer that makes the call.
“Date marks give a guide to how long food can be kept before it begins to deteriorate or may become unsafe to eat,” a Food Standards Australia New Zealand spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
“It is up to the food business to determine the appropriate date marking for their products, based on the characteristics of the food.”
The government body also advised that roast chickens can be "potentially hazardous foods" so used-by-date guidelines set by a store should be followed.
“They should always be kept hot before eating (above 60 degrees Celsius) or chilled quickly in the fridge (at 5 degrees or colder) straight after purchase,” the spokesperson said.
“They should never be left on the bench to cool, as bacteria could grow in the meat or stuffing to dangerous levels.
“Reheating a refrigerated roast chicken should be done using a rapid method like a microwave, and the meat should be steaming hot throughout.
"Leftover chicken that is stored in the fridge should be eaten within the use-by date the food business advises.”
So if you’re planning to dish up a barbecue chook for dinner, it’s probably a good idea to pick one up the day you plan to eat it.
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