Lilydale - Premium Canadian Chicken and Turkey Products | Handling Guide



Thawing & Handling Guide

General Good Handling Practices

Fresh poultry should be refrigerated in its original package in the coldest part of the fridge, on a tray to prevent juices from contacting other food.

Freeze within two days if not cooked.

Never leave poultry on the counter.

Whole chickens may be frozen for up to 365 days (one year) while parts may be frozen for up to 9 months. Quality may deteriorate over time.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days, depending on the type of meat. If freezing is desired, wrap in foil or freezer bags. Make sure the air is squeezed out of the package before freezing. Cooked meat can be kept for 4 months.


Frozen poultry should be thawed in the refrigerator on a cookie sheet or large plate to catch any drippings.

Poultry Type

Thawing Time

Whole chicken

Minimum 16-24 hours


5 hours per pound / 10 hours per kilogram

Chicken and turkey parts

At least 6 hours

Quick Thaw

Thaw in cold water, with the chicken or turkey in a water-tight package (or original tray pack). Change water often.

Poultry Type

Thawing Time

Whole chicken

1-1.5 hours


30 minutes per pound / 1 hour per kilogram


The microwave can also be used for smaller amounts of chicken and turkey.  Chicken and turkey defrosted in a microwave should be cooked immediately after thawing, because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving.  Storing partially cooked food is not recommended because any bacteria present will not have been destroyed.


Handling Poultry

Don't forget to wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds, particularly after having handled raw poultry and raw eggs.  Keep raw poultry and raw eggs separate from other food products to avoid cross-contamination.  

  • Keep cold foods cold!  Foods, such as cold cuts & deli meats, sandwiches, and ready-to-eat pepperoni, should stay at 4 deg C (40 deg F) or below to be safe.  For lunches on the go… sandwiches and ready-to-eat meats can be kept cool for a few hours in an insulated lunch box with frozen juice boxes.  But whenever possible, keep the lunch box in the refrigerator until lunch time.

  • Raw foods should be stored and handled separately from cooked and ready-to-eat foods to prevent cross-contamination.  After handling raw foods, wash your hands before handling cooked or ready-to-eat foods.

Food Safety

Keeping your entire meal safe and bacteria-free isn't as tough as it sounds. Bacteria can be found on vegetables and fruit and can even grow on counter tops and utensils if they have not been properly cleaned. Follow these guidelines to make your kitchen safe.

  • Keep thawed or fresh chicken and turkey in the fridge, never at room temperature.

  • Prevent uncooked juices from dripping onto other foods in the fridge by placing the packages on a large tray (a baking sheet works well). 

  • Place raw product on non-porous surfaces because they are easy to clean. It is recommended that you use two cutting boards - one for raw meats and another for fruit, vegetables, and bread. 

  • Use paper towels, not cloth, to pat-dry turkey and chicken when wiping up the juices. 

  • Wash hands and utensils with hot soapy water before and after poultry preparation.

For more information on safe food handling practices, click here for the Partnership for Food Safety Education's website: