Can I refrigerate pre-wrapped chicken in its store packaging?

Yes. In fact, it is recommended for two reasons.  First,  every time you handle the chicken it becomes contaminated by air, hands, and contact surfaces. Second, poultry in the retail case may be packaged in modified atmosphere packaging.  This type of packaging replaces oxygen with gases such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide that suppress bacterial growth and slow spoilage.  If you unwrap the chicken, you lose this protection.  
Brewer, M.S. and Chapman-Novakofski, K. 2006.  Meat Safety for the Consumer, University of Illinois Extension.
Susan Brewer, Ph.D.  University of Illinois, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Texas Agricultural Exrension Service “Safe Home Food Storage”



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