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Defrosting frozen food

Food handling


Bacteria stop growing when food is frozen but freezing does not kill the bacteria.

Defrosting food correctly ensures the bacteria do not continue to grow and cause food poisoning

Foods that can be frozen

Most foods can be frozen, but common frozen foods include:

  • raw meat 
  • chopped vegetables
  • cooked meals.

Rules for defrosting frozen food

  • defrost food thoroughly before cooking or reheating it
  • frozen food should be defrosted either in a microwave, or in the fridge
  • if using the fridge, defrost food on the bottom shelf, away from other foods just in case it drips as it is defrosting
  • you can keep fully defrosted food in the fridge for a short time until it is ready to be cooked or reheated
  • cook or reheat the food immediately if it is defrosted in a microwave
  • do not re-freeze defrosted food
  • do not defrost food on the bench; the external surface could be at room temperature with bacteria or other microorganisms growing quickly, while the centre is still frozen
  • allow plenty of time to defrost food thoroughly
  • large cuts of meat or large chickens may take longer to defrost all the way through to the centre.

Answer this practice question...

You defrost some meat in the microwave, you do not have time to cook it but it is okay to put it in the fridge to cook the next day?

Incorrect! Why is this?

Correct! Why is this?

You have the right to reject the delivery if you find the food unsafe

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