Safe Handling of Frozen Foods

Freezing is a modern convenience that makes preservation, consumption, and enjoyment of our favorite foods a lot simpler
December 11, 2012
By Michael Stewart

Freezing is a modern convenience that makes preservation, consumption, and enjoyment of our favourite foods a lot simpler. 
Almost any food is capable of being successfully frozen to be enjoyed at a later date.

However, it’s important to realise that freezing can alter the integrity of some foods, especially if they’re left frozen for a long time. It’s also important to understand the ins and outs of kitchen safety when it comes to thawing and reheating previously frozen foods.

Safely Using Your Freezer

Food that you intend to keep for a long time should be stored at a temperature of -18 degrees Celsius. However, it’s important to understand that many home freezers are unable to actually maintain temps this low, so don’t keep frozen food for too long.

The freezing process does not actually kill harmful bacteria and other organisms that were present in the food before freezing. However, while frozen, bacteria populations do not continue to grow, although they will resume doing so once your food is thawed.

Safe Defrosting Practices

You should always make sure that meats and other foods that need to be thawed before cooking have time to thoroughly undergo this process before cooking, so plan your meals ahead of time.

Never, ever leave food to defrost on the kitchen counter, in the sink, or anywhere other than the refrigerator. Outer layers can begin to warm up too quickly and breed harmful bacteria. Although veggies can be cooked from frozen, meat or poultry should always be thoroughly defrosted before cooking.

Is Refreezing Ever OK?

In general, refreezing food once it’s been thawed is not recommended, as it affects food quality. However, it’s considered safe to refreeze food that hasn’t been allowed to get warmer than the temperature inside your refrigerator. Previously frozen food can also be refrozen once it’s cooked.