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Raw chicken smells like vinegar

valia Feb 15, 2014 02:31 PM

Here we go again... as if my issue with the raw chicken and pork wasn't enough, I just bought some Perdue chicken from Wal-Mart with a use by date of 2/27 and when I took it out to wrap the meat separately, the meat smelled strongly of vinegar. The meat also had some ice chips on it as if it was previously frozen even though it was fresh at the store. I already threw the package away and the chicken is in my freezer. Suggestions?

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  1. chefj Feb 15, 2014 02:37 PM

    "Fresh" Poultry is allowed to be stored below freezing so the Ice chips are not a surprise, I imagine that it was never frozen solid.
    Vinegar smell??
    Throwing he packaging away and freezing it, Why would you do that? If it was suspicious to you you should have returned it.
    What to do now, that is really something you need to decide for your self.

    1. sal_acid Feb 15, 2014 02:39 PM

      Spoiled meat smells funny. Acetic acid is a product of fermentation ie there are bacteria growing in it.

      Toss it.

      5 Replies
      1. re: sal_acid
        valia Feb 15, 2014 02:52 PM

        Is there any way to salvage the meat? Hubby said he couldn't smell anything, but I definitely smelled the vinegar. Can I do a vinegar/baking soda wash to make it safer before cooking?

        1. re: valia
          monavano Feb 15, 2014 02:53 PM

          I can smell things my husband can't and when it comes down to my sniffer vs. his re: raw poultry, my sniffer wins.
          Toss it and move on.

          1. re: valia
            sal_acid Feb 15, 2014 02:56 PM

            Depends on how lucky you feel. Vinegar and baking soda will do nothing much.

            Freezing kills some parasites but not bacteria.

            The wash would get surface bacteria off.

            Cooking will kill the bugs, but not necessarily any toxins they've made.

            1. re: valia
              jrvedivici Feb 16, 2014 09:41 AM

              You know there is a problem or you wouldn't have posted the question to begin with. Everyone (including myself) has told you to toss it, yet you ask if washing it will salvage the meat? If someone was to actually say yes, would you listen to them instead of the dozen plus who have warned you otherwise?

              If you just want to wait for the answer you want to hear why post the question at all? It's your and your husbands health, not ours, sure wash it and give it a try. (NO DON'T)

              1. re: jrvedivici
                C. Hamster Feb 16, 2014 10:43 AM

                If washing rotten food in baking soda made it safe to eat then we'd have no need for refrigeration.

          2. y
            Yankeegirl28 Feb 15, 2014 02:59 PM

            I've had that happen to me too. Throw it out!

            7 Replies
            1. re: Yankeegirl28
              valia Feb 15, 2014 03:04 PM

              I know I need to. It's just the same thing just happened with some chicken and pork I bought last week, I feel like I'm annoying hubby with it. He has a stomach of steel so to say, so the stuff that bothers me doesn't necessarily bother him.

              1. re: valia
                monavano Feb 15, 2014 03:19 PM

                You need to find a better source!

                1. re: monavano
                  ttoommyy Feb 15, 2014 03:57 PM

                  My thoughts exactly!

                  1. re: ttoommyy
                    fldhkybnva Feb 15, 2014 04:38 PM

                    Yes, please. This is a strange pattern. Go to a different store or let someone else smell the meat.

                    1. re: ttoommyy
                      magiesmom Feb 15, 2014 04:50 PM


                  2. re: valia
                    Ttrockwood Feb 15, 2014 04:56 PM

                    This is a clear sign that where you are buying does not properly handle the product..... I would rather "annoy the hubby" and return to get my money back than hug the toilet and hope to die for a good 24-48hrs.

                    1. re: Ttrockwood
                      Puffin3 Feb 16, 2014 09:06 AM

                      Serve some of that meat to your hubby and he'll find out his stomach has changed from steel to ........fill in the blank.
                      I promise you though the next time you ask if he smells anything 'off' the answer will be "yes". LOL
                      At this point I'd be making a phone call to the local health inspectors office. Seriously, someone with a weak immune system can die from serious food poisoning.

                2. i
                  INDIANRIVERFL Feb 16, 2014 09:21 AM

                  Enquiring minds need to know. The truth is in the details.

                  The type of vinegar smell is indicative of the potential uses.

                  Red vinegar. Definitely braised with red wine. I would suggest a Pouilly Fuse' or Voignier.

                  Cider vinegar. Stuff with apples and chestnuts and roast in the oven. A 4 year old calvados would be appropriate.

                  Balsamic. Obviously stay away from dairy and use with anything involving tomatoes or cacciatore.

                  Vinegar source unknown. Have you ever had a desire to try fugu?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                    Puffin3 Feb 16, 2014 11:09 AM

                    You apparently did not comprehend the what the OP was saying. Or you are 'loaded'. "Enquiring minds need to know".

                    1. re: Puffin3
                      acgold7 Feb 16, 2014 11:11 AM

                      I'm thinking the reply was meant to be satirical.

                      1. re: acgold7
                        INDIANRIVERFL Feb 16, 2014 01:48 PM

                        In this case, a resounding yes.

                  2. a
                    acgold7 Feb 16, 2014 10:59 AM

                    Okay, I'll play contrarian. Chicken often picks up a harmless funky smell in the package that means nothing. All meats sometimes do.

                    Billions of dollars of perfectly good food are thrown away every year because people panic at the slightest off smell. Now I'm not there with you and didn't smell what you did, and I'm not telling you what to do, nor suggesting that any of this is definitely safe for sure. Certainly it's possible that the chicken is tainted and dangerous. But I doubt it.

                    If it was me, I'd wash the chicken thoroughly in clean cold water and sniff again. If it still smells, I'd place it in a wet brine of about a cup of Kosher salt to a half-gallon of water overnight, then sniff again. If it smells foul (get it?) and nasty, I'd probably toss, but if not, I'd cook and eat.

                    Safest cooking method would be a slow-simmered braised dish as it'll be well-done and the extended wet near-boiling temps would not only kill any bacteria present but also dissipate any potential toxins, if any (unlikely, but just to mollify the paranoid).

                    This is just me. Don't sue me if you die, as this is not medical advice.

                    And yeah, I get that it's only four bucks' worth of chicken, but throwing away food is a crime against nature.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: acgold7
                      Puffin3 Feb 16, 2014 11:23 AM

                      So is selling chicken that has been not properly handled before it's sold.
                      I can attest to an eye witness incident where a 'store' purchased a thousand raw chickens from an insurance company in an over turned semi which had been in the trailer in the ditch for two days without any refrigeration. The buyer paid nothing for the chickens only for his 'slave' labor to collect the rotting chickens from the trailer and transport them to his warehouse where he sold them to a few grocery stores for a .80 each.
                      If you can THINK about it it will happen in the food industry.
                      If you unwrap the chicken and it doesn't smell like fresh chicken IT ISN"T!!!!!!
                      No amount of 'chemicals' will EVER make the bird safe to eat.

                      1. re: Puffin3
                        monavano Feb 16, 2014 11:27 AM


                        I am not ashamed of having the luxury of throwing food away when I believe it might put me or others in harm's way.

                        1. re: monavano
                          meatn3 Feb 16, 2014 03:15 PM

                          I can't afford to throw food away *but* I can't afford getting sick either. So I would throw it out!

                          1. re: meatn3
                            sunshine842 Feb 16, 2014 04:04 PM

                            let's see...$10 worth of chicken versus:

                            2-3 days off work (not everybody gets paid for sick time, or has to take it as vacation days)
                            Getting to the doctor's office
                            Copay for the office visit
                            Screwing around at the pharmacy/grocery waiting for scripts
                            copays for scripts
                            ...all while you feel like death itself.

                            The chicken goes out, every single time -- even if healthcare were well and truly free, and payment for sick days was a given --

                            I'll take a couple of days of eating beans to make the budget over a couple of days violently eliminating toxins from my body -- every single time.

                            (and all of this is assuming you don't have to be hospitalized!)

                            1. re: sunshine842
                              meatn3 Feb 16, 2014 04:11 PM


                              1. re: sunshine842
                                Ttrockwood Feb 16, 2014 07:16 PM

                                If i was truly pissed, and if i was the OP i would be, i would return to the store with the funky chicken and demand my $$ back! (And buy a bag of lentils.....!)

                                1. re: Ttrockwood
                                  sunshine842 Feb 16, 2014 08:11 PM

                                  and I've done exactly that.

                                  Problem is that the OP already threw away the packaging...

                                2. re: sunshine842
                                  acgold7 Feb 16, 2014 11:43 PM

                                  You're assuming that this is the certain or even likely choice that is being made, and if it were I would agree with you completely.

                                  But from what we've been told in the OP I sort of doubt it and in fact consider it to be likely not this choice at all.

                            2. re: Puffin3
                              acgold7 Feb 16, 2014 03:10 PM

                              I assume you were the eye witness to the horrible incident you describe. If not, it's just hearsay and apocryphal and probably made up, or at least exaggerated.

                              In any event, it has nothing to do with the issue at hand, in which nothing of the sort has been witnessed by anybody involved in this discussion, and no one has any evidence at all that anything like that has happened. Your nose is not a reliable indicator. Sauerkraut always smells awful and botulism has no odor, taste or color.

                              I remember a classic episode of Hill Street Blues in which a detective goes undercover as a butcher. A grouchy old lady comes in and insists on smelling the chicken. He hands her one and she spreads its legs, sticks her nose deep into the cavity and takes a deep sniff. He looks at her and says, "Lady, could you pass the same test?"

                              We eat plenty of things, like cheeses, that smell awful and are basically in a state of decomposition when we do so. Dry-aging beef is another form of the same thing.

                              Anyhow, I was just saying what I'd do, not telling anyone to do anything. If you've studied food history at all, you'd know that nearly every sauce, marinade, flavoring agent, spice and cooking method was developed before there were refrigeration or preservation techniques, and were mostly used to cover up the taste of food going off. And only recently have people had the luxury of avoiding such foods.

                          2. m
                            mortswife Feb 16, 2014 04:19 PM

                            Hi, I just started by reading your remarks. I used to work for a butcher. When his chickens were a few days old he would soak them in vinegar water. It DOES kill germs and bacteria.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: mortswife
                              sal_acid Feb 16, 2014 04:39 PM

                              Oh really? So you did cultures before and after? I think not.

                              Vinegar kills bacteria..sure.
                              That's why the doctor uses a vinegar wipe on your arm before he draws blood.
                              Or why the dentist stores his instruments in a jar of vinegar.

                              Maybe it kills a few, but vinegar is less acidic than your stomach and food poisoning bacteria and toxins manage to survive that acid bath.

                              1. re: sal_acid
                                sunshine842 Feb 16, 2014 08:13 PM

                                the doctor doesn't use a vinegar wipe -- he uses an alcohol or betadine wipe.

                                No dentist in this century stores his instruments in a jar of anything -- all the instruments are sent out to be autoclaved and individually packaged -- a new package for every patient.

                                Even the barber uses an alcohol solution for the combs (and do any of them actually do that any more?)

                                1. re: sunshine842
                                  sal_acid Feb 16, 2014 08:17 PM

                                  So you see my point.

                                  1. re: sal_acid
                                    sunshine842 Feb 16, 2014 08:19 PM

                                    er, no.

                                    You might have had a point had your point had a grain of fact to it.

                                    But the OP said the chicken smelled of vinegar -- not rubbing alcohol or betadine.

                                  2. re: sunshine842
                                    acgold7 Feb 16, 2014 11:38 PM

                                    He was being sarcastic, no matter how clumsily or ineptly.

                                    He was also incorrect, as anyone who uses vinegar in pickling and preserving can attest.

                                    1. re: acgold7
                                      sunshine842 Feb 17, 2014 03:35 AM

                                      the incorrect was what I had responded to.

                                      the derision I could have lived without.

                              2. jrvedivici Feb 16, 2014 04:44 PM

                                I for one would like to see someone post; "opened a pack of chicken and it smells like roses" or "lilacs in the middle of June" and see what would people say then.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jrvedivici
                                  meatn3 Feb 16, 2014 05:09 PM

                                  I opened a pack of chicken and it smells like duck!

                                  1. re: jrvedivici
                                    MrsPatmore Feb 22, 2014 12:12 PM

                                    jrvedivici, you have one again caused me to burst out laughing. Thank you!

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