Food Safety

 

Food Safety is paramount to everything we process at Holly Poultry. Our own Quality Assurance team leads the charge in monitoring our fresh chicken processes step by step. Operating under USDA guidelines and approvals, we have designed and implemented a HACCP program that meets the highest standards for quality and freshness.

In support of maintaining the highest standards, all production crews are thoroughly trained and monitored in good handling practices(GMP). Daily sanitation shifts are measured in all product areas in a pre-operational basis and monitored via outside laboratory testing to verify effectiveness.

Holly Poultry, working in conjunction with third party audit firms, has maintained an excellent food safety rating based on inspections conducted by Process Management Consultants and ASI Food Safety Consultants.

National Poultry Food Distributor: “High Standard of Food Safety since 2007”

Our Facility:

Encompassing 40,000 square feet on Berlin Street, our USDA approved facility operates under a 24/7 concept, eliminating any delay from source to customer. Dedicated processing rooms offer flexible product variety and mechanized efficiency with a highly trained and committed workforce. Our attention to detail, with value in mind, is guaranteed.

Poultry Safety Guidelines:

The following information is taken directly from the  USDA website. Please follow instructions carefully when handling or preparing chicken.

How to Handle Chicken Safely

• Fresh Chicken: Chicken is kept cold during distribution to retail stores to prevent the  growth of bacteria and to increase its shelf life. Chicken should feel cold to the touch when purchased. Select fresh chicken just before checking out at the register. Put packages of chicken in disposable plastic bags (if available) to contain any leakage which could cross-contaminate cooked foods or produce. Make the grocery store your last stop before going home.

Chicken may be frozen in its original packaging or repackaged. If freezing chicken longer than 2 months, over wrap the porous store plastic packages with airtight heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper, or place the package inside a freezer bag. Use these materials or airtight freezer containers to freeze the chicken from opened packages or repackage family packs of chicken into smaller amounts.

Proper wrapping prevents "freezer burn," which appears as grayish-brown leathery spots and is caused by air reaching the surface of food. Cut freezer-burned portions away either before or after cooking the chicken. Heavily freezer-burned products may have to be discarded because they may be too dry or tasteless.

• Ready-Prepared Chicken: When purchasing fully cooked rotisserie or fast food chicken, be sure it is hot at the time of purchase. Use it within 2 hours or cut it into several pieces and refrigerate in shallow, covered containers. Eat within 3 to 4 days, either cold or reheated to 165 °F (73.9 °C). It is safe to freeze ready-prepared chicken. For best quality, flavor, and texture, use it within 4 months.

Safe Thawing

FSIS recommends three ways to thaw chicken: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave. Never thaw chicken on the counter or in other locations. It's best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. Boneless chicken breasts, bone-in parts, and whole chickens may take 1 to 2 days or longer to thaw. Once the raw chicken thaws, it can be kept in the refrigerator an additional day or two before cooking. During this time, if chicken thawed in the refrigerator is not used, it can safely be refrozen without cooking it first. Chicken may be thawed in cold water in its airtight packaging or in a leak-proof bag. Submerge the bird or cut-up parts in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes to be sure it stays cold. A whole (3- to 4-pound) broiler-fryer or package of parts should thaw in 2 to 3 hours. A 1- pound package of boneless breasts will thaw in an hour or less. Cook immediately after thawing.

Chicken that was thawed in the microwave should be cooked immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving. Holding partially cooked food is not recommended because any bacteria present wouldn't have been destroyed. Foods defrosted in the microwave or by the cold water method should be cooked before refreezing.

Do not cook frozen chicken in a slow cooker or in the microwave; thaw it before cooking. However, chicken can be cooked from the frozen state in the oven or on the stove. The cooking time may be about 50 percent longer.

Safe Cooking

FSIS recommends cooking whole chicken to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook poultry to higher temperatures. For approximate cooking times to use in meal planning, see the following chart compiled from various resources. 

APPROXIMATE CHICKEN COOKING TIMES

Approximate Chicken Cooking Times

Microwave Directions:

• Microwave on medium-high (70 percent power): whole chicken, 9 to 10 minutes per pound; bone-in parts and Cornish hens, 8 to 9 minutes per pound; boneless breasts halves, 6 to 8 minutes per pound.

• Place whole chicken in an oven cooking bag or in a covered microwavable pot.

• Do not microwave a stuffed chicken. Food cooks so quickly in a microwave oven that the stuffing might not have enough time to reach the safe minimum internal temperature needed to destroy harmful bacteria.

• When microwaving parts, arrange in a dish or on a rack so thick parts are toward the outside of dish and thin or bony parts are in the center.

• For boneless breast halves, place in a dish with 1/4 cup water; cover with plastic wrap.

• Allow 10 minutes standing time for bone-in chicken; 5 minutes for a boneless breast.

• The USDA recommends cooking whole poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) as measured using a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

When cooking pieces, breasts, drumsticks, thighs, and wings should be cooked until they reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C). For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook poultry to higher temperatures.