checking chicken through package


‘That means that it has changed temperatures too quickly’: Customer shares how to shop for chicken at Aldi

‘If it’s bubbled up like this, that means that it has changed temperatures too quickly.’


Eric Webb


Posted on May 10, 2023   Updated on May 10, 2023, 9:11 pm CDT

No one wants to end up at the doctor just because they ate bad chicken for dinner. But one TikTok user went viral after sharing tips for how to safely shop for poultry at your local Aldi.

“Just a little word of advice,” Brittany Self (@brittself20) said in her video, which racked up over 5.6 million views since Feb. 28. “When you’re shopping for meat and you can actually see the meat through the package, feel it, that’s good.” 

The video showed viewers a package of Aldi’s Never Any!-brand chicken breast tenderloins. The plastic wrap on the package is taut around the container and the poultry, with little room inside.

@brittself20 Tip! #aldi #groceryshopping #groceries #meats #meatdepartment #wordofadvice #tipsandtricks #hacks #themoreyouknow ♬ original sound – Brittany S

“But if it’s bubbled up like this,” Self said, moving the camera to a package of Never Any! chicken breasts, “that means that it has changed temperatures too quickly, went from hot to cold or vice versa. So always avoid the meat that is bubbled up like this.” Indeed, the plastic on the package of chicken breasts appeared more inflated than on the package of tenderloins.

In response to an Instagram direct message, Self told The Daily Dot that she learned these tips and tricks from her brother-in-law, who is a former butcher. One tidbit she picked up from him: Chicken packaging can get “bloated” after being picked up by a customer, left in a spot with a different temperature, and then replaced somewhere cooler by a store employee. 

It’s worth noting, too, that the examples shown in Self’s TikTok are different cuts of chicken, which could account for the variations in packaging. According to The U.S. Department of Agriculture, only some meat is vacuum-packed—which removes air from inside the package.

Meanwhile, methods like modified atmosphere packaging introduce a combination of gasses—like oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen—into the package at the time of closure, a USDA representative told The Daily Dot. That method is meant to preserve the shelf life of the product.

“Some bloating can represent a risk,” the spokesperson said. “For example, swelling can occur in packaging due to gasses formed” because of bacterial growth, according to the USDA. As a result, it recommended erring on the side of caution when observing swollen, puffy packages of meat.

To be sure, this isn’t the first time that some bagged-and-bloated bird has set off concern on social media. Last year, PolitiFact tackled a similar viral video that warned consumers away from sealed, “puffy” bags of frozen chicken breast. That type of packaging’s appearance did not indicate spoilage, the National Chicken Council told PolitiFact.

In other words, there are a lot of variables when it comes to what poultry packaging “should” look like. To make sure your meat is safe for consumption, check the expiration date. Also: “Spoilage bacteria can cause meat or poultry to turn a dark color, develop an objectionable odor, and become slimy from the high bacterial numbers. Meat with these characteristics should not be used,” according to the USDA’s website.

Aldi did not immediately respond to The Daily Dot’s request for comment. Self said that she’s not sure what type of packaging the grocery chain uses for their poultry, but vowed to pay more attention to how different cuts of meat are packaged.

And if all that is too much to consider, one commenter on Self’s TikTok might speak to your soul: “I love being a vegetarian,” they wrote.

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*First Published: May 10, 2023, 3:23 pm CDT