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Food Safety Issues/Black Flecks on thawed out Chicken Breast


I have recently purchased a bag of frozen chicken breast and so far the two times I have gone to thaw them, they turn out with black flecks on them. From what I can tell, its not mold. Some of the flecks will wash off but most will not. I threw out the last couple of pieces because I was concerned about it, thinking there might be something wrong with my refrigerator. But once again tonight, same thing. My boyfriend says boil it up, "It shouldn't be harmful." I, on the other hand, think it is. Any suggestions?

Hi Nichole,

It's not uncommon for black specks to appear on chicken skin.  This is just where the feathers were burned off during processing. The base of the pin feathers sometimes is not completely burned off and this gives a black speck appearance.

It is harmless and it perfectly safe to cook and consume. For once your boyfriend was right!

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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