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Do you ever thaw and refreeze meat without cooking?

I've heard it's safe to do so, provided that you've thawed it in the fridge, but I always feel a little uneasy doing this.

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  1. You are not recommended to do this. The only time you might is if there are still ice crystals in the meat. That is why they mark 'previously frozen' meat at the grocer.

    1. No. I'm not the most strict food safety cook, but that's one thing I don't do.

      1. Safe? Yes.

        Good for the palate? No.

        1. I will do it once, but only if the internal temp of the meat did not get over 34° during the thaw, or it must be cooked/discarded.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kelli2006

            I do not freeze any meats, unless I've received them from a mail order/specialty store and they are already frozen....home freezers can't drop the temp fast enough to prevent large, relatively speaking, ice crystals from forming in the meat........once defrosted much is lost through the thaw when these large crystals dissipate......most large mail order facilities blast freeze product in a nitrogen tunnel that freezes the product rapidly forming much smaller crystalization....upon thawing little is lost in moisture/flavour.
            Many people prefer F.A.S. (frozen at sea) seafood products over fresh because often fresh is caught,iced, and held until a quota is reached.....could be days......FAS is frozen at the peak of freshnes......freezing/thawing in fridge/ re freezing probably won't hurt anything ,but the already compromised product.....sorry to be so long winded.

          2. No, only because I don't want to take a chance.

            1. I've done it with cheaper meats and they've been none the worse for wear. But I wouldn't do it with a decent steak.

              1. Yes, it's safe if you did it in the fridge and refroze it within a day or so. I've done it when I've had a change of plans (i.e. eat out instead of cooking), it's not a big deal. As others have said, the quality suffers (but not as much as leaving it thawed for a week before cooking and eating it).

                2 Replies
                1. re: hsk

                  Somehow people have gotten the idea that it will immediately kill you if you refreeze thawed meat. It is SAFE as long as the meat was thawed in the refrigerator. See the USDA website! Everyone says that the quality suffers; I've done this with chicken breasts plenty of times (like with hsk, because plans changed) and never noticed the difference. This is one of those things like cutting the tags off of mattresses. It's really ok!

                  USDA: Refreezing
                  Once food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through defrosting. After cooking raw foods which were previously frozen, it is safe to freeze the cooked foods. If previously cooked foods are thawed in the refrigerator, you may refreeze the unused portion.

                  If you purchase previously frozen meat, poultry or fish at a retail store, you can refreeze if it has been handled properly

                  1. re: DGresh

                    Agreed..also, I've worked in food related businesses for over 25 years...for those who eat in restaurants or maybe grab a snack from a food truck, I'm here to tell you that these places of business have done it on more than one occasion... It is safe to do but it'll give you something to think about when you eat someplace where the item is listed as "fresh"

                2. Yes.
                  And I'm still around to tell you about it. Just as long as it stays very cold I'll do it. I try really hard not to though.

                  DT

                  1. never.,

                    other than chicken, or a whole ham I try not to freeze meat at all.

                    1. Does anyone have, or know where I can get, scientific info regarding this subject. Some say that by re-freezing thawed meat will activate toxins...... How may toxins as compared to what your body can withstand. What kind of toxins? We eat lots of foods that put toxins into our bodies and that is "ok" as long as we do not overdo it. We take meds that put toxins in our bodies and that os "ok". I would like to see some numbers or info that tells what is "ok" and what is not. If you smoke one Cigarette a year, you are putting toxins into your body but that amount is "ok". Will re-freezing thawed meats kill you instantly or be the same as 1 cigarette a year?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: REW

                        When you freeze or refreeze meat, you are putting the bacteria ( that is in it to start with) into suspended animation, and it just hangs out until it comes back to a comfortable temperature again. I don't know if I would call bacteria a "toxin" exactly: it's just something you need to be aware of because of the possibility of problems if not handled correctly. And it's not something that builds up in your system, although it does build up in meat over time.

                        1. re: REW

                          There's chemical toxins (some of which are produced by bacteria) and bacterial toxins. Generally only chemical toxins will kill you instantly (eg. botulism), bacterial toxins will take a while to make you sick to the point where you might die.

                          The kind of toxins from re-freezing meat will be bacterial toxins, eg. e. coli or salmonella that might be at a certain concentration when packaged, stay at that concentration when frozen, and become active again when thawed. That's why it's important to thaw in the fridge, the bacteria don't multiply at fridge temperatures so you're not dealing with larger concentrations of toxic bacteria just from thawing and re-freezing. If you thaw on the countertop, the bacteria on the surface can multiply and when you freeze it again it's still there, ready to multiply some more when you again thaw it on the countertop.

                          1. re: REW

                            I believe the USDA has something on their website.

                            DT