Chicken Quality

You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to know tender, juicy chicken is quality chicken.

Keep the following information in mind when examining and determining poultry quality:


Varies from cream-colored to yellow. Skin color is a result of the type of feed eaten by the chicken; it’s not a measure of the nutritional value, flavor, tenderness or fat content.


Darkening around the bones occurs primarily in young broiler-fryers. Freezing can also contribute to darker bones. When the chicken is cooked, the pigment turns dark, which is perfectly safe to eat.


The color of cooked chicken is not a sign of its safety. Only by using a meat thermometer can one accurately determine that chicken has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 ˚F throughout. The pink color in safely cooked chicken may be due to the hemoglobin in tissues. Smoking or grilling may also cause this reaction, which occurs more in younger birds.


Inspection by the USDA or state system with standards equivalent to the federal government is mandatory, but grading is voluntary. Chickens are graded according to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s regulations and standards for meatiness, appearance and freedom from defects.

Source: USDA