Can you get food poisoning from frozen food?

Can you get food poisoning from forzen food

Have you ever taken a dubious slab of meat out of the freezer with no date of freezing on it and decided to chuck it because you thought it might not have been safe to eat. You didn’t know how long it had been languishing in the freezer and food poisoning was uppermost in your mind.

Actually, that unappetising slab of frozen meat, if it went into the freezer safe, would still have been safe when you threw it in the bin.

You see, as long as food is of good quality before it’s frozen, and it’s frozen safely, there is nothing that is going to happen to that food item in the freezer that will cause a health hazard, as long as it is kept consistently frozen. While the quality of the item may deteriorate in the freezer, it’ll still be as safe to eat when defrosted and cooked as it would have been before you froze it.

This rule of thumb applies to the freezing and defrosting of raw and cooked food items.

One of the safest methods of food storage is freezing. The danger comes in bad safety processes when handling and preparing frozen food, not in the frozen food itself.


Preparing food to freeze

Hot items: It’s a great idea to prepare cooked food in advance and freeze it in portions for easy access and saved time in the kitchen during the week. But be sure to freeze your cooked food safely. Cool hot items down before placing them in the freezer. But also be aware of the amount of time you leave the food out to cool down. Too long and you risk bacteria growth and the bacteria will not be killed off when it is frozen. As soon as the cooked food is cool enough to go in the fridge, put it there to cool down further before transferring it over to the freezer.

Food prep: Whatever is in the food when you freeze it will be there when you defrost it. So take care in food prep to use clean utensils, boards and chopping surfaces.


Defrosting right

Of course you can do everything right when freezing and then put your family at risk of food poisoning by using unsafe defrosting and storing practices. Safe frozen food can become unsafe if you don’t defrost and store it correctly.

Defrost in the fridge or microwave: Never defrost by leaving the item out in the open air on a counter top. As the item defrosts and becomes room temperature, you are inviting bacteria to grow. If defrosting in a microwave, serve as soon as the item is heated thoroughly. If defrosting in the fridge, ensure it is fully defrosted before using. If the item is precooked, after a full defrost, heat it thoroughly all the way through before serving.

Storing right: Once you have served your defrosted food, never leave it out in the open. We’ve all heard of instances where catered food caused food poisoning because the food was left in the open for too many hours. Don’t take risks. As soon as the meal is finished, store leftovers either back in the freezer or in the fridge.

Losing power to the freezer: In the event of a major power cut, you risk the food in your freezer defrosting. As long as the temperature of the freezer doesn’t exceed 4 degrees, the food should be OK to refreeze when the power comes on. But this also depends on how long the power stays out. As with all food doubts, if there is doubt, throw it out. Your home insurance should cover the cost of replacing your freezer contents anyway. Always choose safety over regret.

So, in summary, freezing is one of the safest ways to store food. But you need to know how to defrost and store your food safely and follow these safe practices each time. The biggest takeaway is to never let food stand in the open. Always store in the fridge or freezer.