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Defrost frozen fish in original plastic packaging. Safe?

m
mike2401 Oct 3, 2010 10:00 AM

Why does my fozen salmon purchased from store in plastic wrapping warn AGAINST thawing in its original plastic wrap?

I've seen some packing that says remove from plastic, place on plate, and cover with plastic wrap.

What's the difference?

It's certainly much more convenient to just move it from freezer to fridge overnight, and open and cook the next day.

Is it dangerous to do so?

Thanks,
Mike

  1. m
    mike2401 Oct 5, 2010 04:32 PM

    Does no one defrost frozen fish in the original plastic wrapping?

    1. b
      Breezychow Oct 5, 2010 04:44 PM

      I don't often buy frozen fish in plastic wrapping, but the few times I've had to defrost frozen wrapped fish, I always do it in the original wrapping. I've never heard of doing otherwise UNLESS one was planning of thawing in the microwave. There are plastic wraps that are not microwave safe.

      1. amyzan Oct 5, 2010 05:02 PM

        The 2 pound package of frozen shrimp I sometimes buy says to thaw the whole bag at once, in the packaging. I have a family of two, unless you count pets, so you better believe I've broken that little instruction. No one's gotten sick yet. I think sometimes these instructions are just so much legalese to protect the company, but often defy common practice as well as common sense.

        1. ipsedixit Oct 5, 2010 05:04 PM

          The reason for the warning is that many people thaw their seafoods and meats in the microwave. Some types of plastic wrap and microwaves go together like fresh garlic in EVOO and room tempterature. Bad combo.

          If you are defrosting intelligently (in the fridge like most Chowhounds do), don't worry about the plastic wrap.

          1. mels Oct 6, 2010 05:48 AM

            I've always wondered about those warnings too. I almost always put the frozen fish, in its original wrapper, in the fridge.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mels
              m
              mike2401 Oct 6, 2010 03:36 PM

              when i compliantly followed directions and removed from plastic, and put on plate in fridge, it ended up in a pool of water, so i'm not sure it was any less water logged.

            2. NYCkaren Oct 6, 2010 11:17 AM

              I follow the instructions and take the fish out of the original packaging. I figure it'll be a little less waterlogged as it defrosts that way.

              1. s
                sparkareno Oct 6, 2010 11:31 AM

                I defrost in original packaging but make sure to put a plate under it. One time the plastic bag leaked and I can't begin to tell you what a PITA it was to get the fish smell out of my fridge.

                1. s
                  synther Oct 25, 2012 11:53 AM

                  There is a safety issue re: thawing in vacuum-sealed packaging. From orcabayseafoods.com:

                  "Our products are sealed in vacuum-packed pouches while still frozen. This prevents dehydration or “freezer burn”, and is most effective way to preserve quality. We go to great lengths to bring you the best seafood possible, as with any all-natural product there are bacteria that develop during the thaw process. The curious thing about seafood is that when in an anaerobic (airless) environment, there is a chance of the formation of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, also known as C-bot, a cause of food poisoning. By removing the packaging, you eliminate the risk of C-bot contamination. Just to be on the safe side, the FDA requires these guidelines for all vacuum-packed seafood. "

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: synther
                    The Dairy Queen Oct 25, 2012 12:07 PM

                    Huh, interesting. Who knew?

                    ~TDQ

                  2. b
                    BrightRedMud Oct 27, 2012 07:34 AM

                    Interesting to read about the problem with thawing in the package.

                    When I eat frozen fish, I don't use the whole package at once. So I remove a few filets from the package, and place them on a cookie sheet, and set the cookie sheet inside of a pan. That way the filets don't sit in their own water.

                    Or I used to place the filets on paper towels to absorb the excess water from thawing, but now I like the cookie sheet method better.

                    1. emglow101 Oct 27, 2012 08:59 AM

                      The best way to thaw frozen fish. Remove from packaging. Place fish in a bowl with water and some ice. Add a pinch of salt and sugar. Takes around a hour to thaw.

                      1. Will Owen Oct 27, 2012 12:04 PM

                        Odd. I was always told to thaw it in cold water in the original wrapper, sometimes even in the instructions on said wrapper, and that's how I've always done it … and now I see I've been FLIRTING WITH DEATH?? Yikes!

                        Yes, I know you're really best off defrosting stuff in the fridge, but I'm usually wanting to eat it sometime this week, and I've had fish stay stubbornly solid for six or seven days. As for thawing in water out of the package, I've always thought it'd get overly waterlogged. Am I wrong about that?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Will Owen
                          emglow101 Oct 27, 2012 03:02 PM

                          I saw Andreas Viestad ( New Scandinavian Cooking ) use this method. I tried it on some frozen haddock and it worked great. It wasn't waterlogged.

                        2. s
                          sueatmo Oct 27, 2012 01:45 PM

                          I often thaw in the fridge, in the original wrapping. So far I've not been harmed.

                          1. j
                            John Francis Oct 27, 2012 02:11 PM

                            I've never seen that instruction on plastic-wrapped fish (for example from Trader Joe's) and don't understand what it's about. I keep the fish in the package, put it in a bowl, and run cold tap water over it until it's flexible. Works for me.

                            1. h
                              happyjewls Aug 18, 2013 05:59 PM

                              Products are sealed in vacuum-packed pouches while still frozen. This prevents dehydration or “freezer burn”, and is most effective way to preserve quality. The curious thing about seafood is that when in an anaerobic (airless) environment, there is a chance of the formation of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, also known as C-bot, a cause of food poisoning. By removing the packaging, you eliminate the risk of C-bot contamination. Just to be on the safe side, the FDA requires these guidelines for all vacuum-packed seafood.

                              1. g
                                gzahn Mar 11, 2014 07:02 PM

                                It's all about the oxygen. In the vacuum pack, there is little to no oxygen. This allows the "botulism bacteria" to grow. They can't survive in the presence of oxygen (they are 'obligately anaerobic'), so even poking a little hole in the original wrapper (on the top, to avoid leaks of course) would eliminate this issue.

                                Source: I am a microbiologist.

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