"If everybody got some of it and it was bad, we would have a major problem," said Paul Coglhan, Brown County Sanitation Inspector.
Coghlan got a call from Good Samaritan Ministries in Brownwood last Thursday saying someone had tried to donate chicken.
"I said, 'How much are we talking?' I figured a pallet, and then they told me 38,000 pounds," Coghlan recalled.
He immediately started trying to track down where the chicken came from and where it ended up.
"We don't know what it is. It may be fine, may be great stuff, may be rotten, may be tainted, you don't know," he said.
With the help of Brownwood PD, the chicken was traced back to a semi-truck rollover in Mills County on February 10.
"It was kind of a nightmare trying to track down what happened, but we found out this truck had turned over and the chicken had been condemed at the site," said Dr. James Hays, who worked with Coghlan to track down the meat.
Unaware of the potential health risk, an employee hired to discard the trailer donated all 38,000 pounds of the chicken to churches in Brownwood. As of Tuesday night, less than 3,000 pounds had been accounted for. Some have even refused to return it.
"I had a lady this morning tell me it was great chicken, she's going to eat it," Coghlan said.
The Brown County Health Department hasn't had any reports of sicknesses they believe could be linked to the chicken. The health department notified the Brownwood Regional Medical Center emergency room so cases of food poisoning or salmonella could be tracked.