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Is it safe to eat meat that froze (partially) in the fridge?

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Best Answer , 18 January 2019 - 03:18 PM

You have mostly a quality issue with your dilemma, as Scampi pointed out. However, one re-freeze/thaw/refreeze/thaw cycle isn't likely to impact your quality too much, depending on the cut.  I have a small family, so sometimes when I buy meat from the grocery store I end up having to freeze to preserve shelf life if it's a busy week and I don't have time to cook. 

 

Advice against refreezing-thawing multiple times by consumers is also due to shelf life microbial issues... freezing literally "freezes" some types of microbial growth, does not eliminate it. If you have a refrigerated shelf life of so many days, each day that it is thawed counts as one of those days.  So if you have a total number of "thawed" days that exceeds the printed shelf life, you could theoretically have microbial overgrowth. 

 

Cook it to the proper temperatures and it should be perfectly safe to eat.


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ProblematicFridge

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 01:55 PM

Hi,

 

 

I feel like this forum is way more "professional" than necessary for this question but I did not find the answer on other sites/forums. By the way I hope I won't make vocabulary mistakes as I'm not a native speaker, so please bear with me :)

 

The title pretty much says it : I live in a serviced apartment in a hot/tropical country (Malaysia) and in two different rooms I lived in there are fridges that sometimes freeze the meats a little, either with some ice crystals on some parts of the meat or even some parts completely frozen (hard to the touch).

 

It happened again today : yesterday I bought some slices of chicken breasts, two chicken ribs and some beef slices, they were supposed to be kept in the fridge (got them in the "cold area", not the freezers), I took a Uber from the supermarket so meat was in my fridge within 15-20 minutes of leaving the supermarket I think.

 

This morning both chicken breasts slices and ribs were frozen (ice in chicken breasts package, and one rib completely frozen). Apparently ice formed in the parts closer to the back of the fridge.

 

Is it ok to eat them? We always hear it's bad to refreeze-thaw-refreeze-thaw so I'm wondering about that case where it could happen within a fridge? I'm fairly certain those meats were frozen before being cut and sold in the supermarket, at least the beef since it was labelled "Aussie beef" (unless Australians are nice enough to send their cows alive so they can do a bit of tourism in S-E Asia before being slaughtered locally :p but the price tag didn't seem to include a Qantas economy seat). So even if it froze only once during the night in the fridge, I would assume it counts as frozen twice at least.

 

I found no links answering this apparently fairly common problem, they all pertain to properly freezing meat, defreezing in fridge rather than on counter, etc.

 

So, is it safe in your opinion? (I was thinking of steaming them as a method of cooking)



Scampi

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 02:09 PM

the re-freezing is mostly due to quality.........when ice crystals form they "cut" the meat as they develop leaving you with meat that has some texture issues.

Given your scenario.....totally fine and safe to eat

 

Steamed meat?????? No thank you


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Charles.C

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 03:18 PM

You omitted to specifically mention as to whether the items were sold RTE.

 

If not, statistically, it is not particularly  unusual  if yr initial  purchase contained some (free) Salmonella and Campylobacter.  So cook fully.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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Posted 18 January 2019 - 03:18 PM   Best Answer

You have mostly a quality issue with your dilemma, as Scampi pointed out. However, one re-freeze/thaw/refreeze/thaw cycle isn't likely to impact your quality too much, depending on the cut.  I have a small family, so sometimes when I buy meat from the grocery store I end up having to freeze to preserve shelf life if it's a busy week and I don't have time to cook. 

 

Advice against refreezing-thawing multiple times by consumers is also due to shelf life microbial issues... freezing literally "freezes" some types of microbial growth, does not eliminate it. If you have a refrigerated shelf life of so many days, each day that it is thawed counts as one of those days.  So if you have a total number of "thawed" days that exceeds the printed shelf life, you could theoretically have microbial overgrowth. 

 

Cook it to the proper temperatures and it should be perfectly safe to eat.



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ProblematicFridge

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 04:51 PM

Thank you all for your detailed answers :)

 

I have a few additional questions :

 

- when you said "cook fully", do you mean steaming does not produce a high enough heat to kill all bacterias, and that I should fry in a pan instead?

(by the way Scampi, I agree fried meat tastes better than steamed :) and I'm a French from Brittany so I would love to just cook them the proper way (in half a stick of salted butter :p) but I'm trying to eat healthy for a month, and a steamer is a great way to eat healthy for lazy persons :) you just put in your meat/fish, rice, vegetables, what have you, and go do something else while it cooks by itself, it is very convenient)

 

- what does RTE mean? Sorry if it's a stupid question but I'm unsure of which meaning to pick^^ https://www.acronymfinder.com/RTE.html

 

I'm so glad to know there is no "bacterial Yeti" thriving on cold or freezing ^_^ (it did seem unlikely but a bacterial Yeti seems a danger serious enough to leave it to the professionals :p)



Charles.C

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 05:06 PM

RTE means ready-to-eat as compared to raw meat.

 

cook fully is typically interpreted as achieving an internal temperature of >=70degC at the slowest heating point for >= 2 minutes.

 

A practical alternative is to achieve an instantaneous value of >= 75degC at the same point as referred above.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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ProblematicFridge

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 05:33 PM

Thank you :)

 

By the way, I assume there is the same quality deterioration with vegetables when crystals form and cut cell membranes, but 0 issue with microbes/bacteria? (I ask as I also have a broccoli and some kimchi in the fridge, although I did not see ice form on them)

 

 

Two or three times I also saw it happen to uncooked eggs : they froze and broke their shells as they gained volume, it was like a frozen piece of amber inside. I suppose there is nothing to do with those except throwing them away since their shells were broken for an unknown amount of time?

If parts of the yolk froze/thawed several times inside an egg without breaking the shell, I assume it would be like meat? (as long as you're still before the "best before" date you're ok)



ProblematicFridge

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 06:12 PM

Actually I shouldn't just ask for vegetables but dairy and egg based products too I suppose, like cheeses, butter, mayonnaise? From what I understood whatever the food, as long as the shelf life is still long enough, it does not matter if it freezes and thaws many times in the fridge? Basically if the bacteria wouldn't develop in X days refrigerated, it won't develop either in X - Y days frozen





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