If you’re a fan of composting, you may be wondering if you can add raw chicken to your compost pile.
After all, chicken is potentially a great source of nitrogen, which is one of the key ingredients in compost. Plus, it’s a great way to reduce food waste.
Unfortunately, raw chicken is not a good candidate for composting. Chicken is a poultry product, and as such, it can harbor harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli. These bacteria can survive in compost, and when the compost is used on gardens or farmland, the bacteria can contaminate fruits, vegetables, and other food crops. This can cause serious illness in people who eat contaminated food.
There are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of contamination when composting chicken, but it’s best to avoid composting raw chicken altogether.
If you must compost chicken, cook it thoroughly first to kill any bacteria. You can also compost chicken bones and chicken manure, but be sure to follow the proper safety precautions.
The EPA recommends against composting raw meat, but additionally cautions against meat or fish of any kind. “Do not compost meat, fish, poultry, or dairy products, including cooked foods, bones, or fat. These items can attract pests or create odor problems and will not break down in the compost process.”
The National Resources Defense Council has a similar stance, adding: “You also shouldn’t compost any foods that might attract animals, such as meat, fish, bones, and animal fats. These can create odor problems and attract rodents, raccoons, dogs, and other animals.”
In other words, it’s not just raw chicken that you shouldn’t compost. Any kind of raw meat, fish, or poultry is a no-no. And while you might think that cooking the chicken first would make it safe to compost, the EPA says that’s not the case. “Cooked meats, bones, and fat can also attract pests and create odor problems.”
So, can you compost raw chicken? The answer is a resounding no. It’s not worth the risk of contaminating your compost pile and potentially making people sick. Stick to other sources of nitrogen for your compost, and save the chicken for dinner.