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Nov 29, 2010 01:07 PM

Refreezing Meats?

I've always been told you can't, that the chemical bonds in the meat change. However, I recently read that it is indeed okay to do. I'm the person who defrosts meat and then ends up cooking something else. So once and for all....


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  1. I'll go on the record saying I have done so, eaten the item., and here to tell you i survived without any incident of sickness or death.

    1. What do you mean by "okay"?

      From a food safety standpoint, it is absolutely "okay" (assuming the meat is defrosted properly).

      From a food quality standpoint, it might not be "okay" because there will be some degradation in taste and texture.

      1. Better than throwing it away!

        1. My rule has always been that if I defrosted it in the fridge, yes. If I defrosted it outside the fridge, and it was warm to the touch, no. Still cool, yes.

          1. Nope. If in doubt, throw it out.

            7 Replies
            1. re: gaffk

              Huh? Refreezing meat has no food safety implications. None.

              When in doubt, find out. Wasting food because of ignorance and laziness is immoral.

              1. re: alanbarnes

                That depends on how it is thawed. At its best, refreezing meat has minimal or negligible safety implications. See my post below.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  I think we're in vehement agreement. Thawing meat has safety implications. Refreezing it doesn't, but neither will it magically undo problems that were created during the thawing process.

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    Yep. Agreed.

                    I guess my point was just that refreezing entails another thaw, and if you thaw in a sloppy or unsafe manner, you're increasing your risk.

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      Well then you should not be eating it in the first place. If you thaw unsafely, do not eat the food. If you thaw correctly (in the fridge or via cold water) then you are safe to eat or refreeze.

                      Generally speaking, if you water thaw make sure to pat the item dry before refreezing.

                      It is absolutely fine to refreeze meat. Think about it. Do you buy a chicken from your grocer, take it home and freeze it? Well I can pretty much guarantee to you that it has been previously frozen. Ditto that for pork (which, incidentally, is a fine way to alleviate the trichinosis problem).

                      1. re: Sal Vanilla

                        You missed my point almost entirely. You are increasing the risk of poorly thawed meat when you refreeze.

                        Same goes for acceptable methods of thawing - if you thaw a turkey in the fridge, you are exposing it (the skin anyway) to approx 4-5 days of refrigerator temperature - 32-40 deg F. Spoilage bacteria, though slow, are a factor at these temperatures - you wouldn't cook and eat turkey left in your fridge (not freezer) for a year, right? Well if you refreeze and then rethaw, the turkey has effectively now spent 8-10 days at refrigerator temperature. Try that four more times and you've got one dank bird rotting away in your fridge.

                        In other words, common sense still applies.