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Freezing, Thawing, Refreezing: What are the Rules?

January 7, 2017
Plain English Version
The wrong way to thaw.

The wrong way to thaw.

You can save yourself a lot of trouble and possible illness. Follow these rules.

Any raw or cooked meat, poultry, fish and seafood that has been thawed can be refrozen as long as it was thawed properly. Just make sure the food is not spoiled.

Proper thawing means in the refrigerator. You should never thaw frozen meat, poultry, fish or seafood by placing it on the counter at room temperature or by running it under warm tap water. An expert said, “bacteria like it warm, like we do, and multiply rapidly at room temperature. Thawing on the counter is not safe, period. You should never do that.”

You should not refreeze raw meat or fish if you defrosted it by microwaving. If you let frozen meat or fish sit in cold water or if you defrosted it by running cold water over it, keep it in its plastic packaging and change the water every 30 minutes until it is thawed. Then cook it immediately; do not put it back in the fridge or refreeze it.

Because it can spoil, do not let thawed raw meat sit in the refrigerator  too long before refreezing.

It is safe to thaw and then refreeze frozen fruit, vegetables, breads, cakes and processed foods. The process, however, may affect their texture, taste and color. It may make them mushy or dried out. They might be less appetizing.

Source: The New York Times Oct 2, 2015

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