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EmptyNest's avatar

Is it safe to refreeze meat?

Asked by EmptyNest (2033points) November 18th, 2011

I’ve always been told to never refreeze meat. Yet I know some people who do. I’ve heard it has something to do with bacteria setting in once the meat has been thawed. Does anyone know the reason we aren’t supposed to?

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7 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I always heard that it was safe to refreeze once, but no more than that.

poisonedantidote's avatar

It is more or less safe to refreeze as many times as you like, so long as it was thawed in a refrigerator. The only thing that will happen is that it will lose quality, because freezing makes water expand and water crystals would damage the cell walls of the meat. refreeze enough times and it will turn to mush. (this is also why cryogenics will never work)

As far as I understand it, there is some risk of making your self sick because you need heat to kill the germs, and thawing some meat outside of a refrigerator would allow any inactive germs already in the meat to start multiplying again while the temperature allows it, however, the risk would be minimal, we are dealing mainly with a loss of quality.

The risk of making your self sick varies from one kind of meat to another, for instance, beef is more or less safe to eat raw or burned, but raw chicken would most probably make you sick. If you thaw chicken the germs in the chicken will start to multiply, and when you refreeze it they will just sleep until thawed again.

If you get some frozen chicken and don’t cook it properly, you risk becoming sick. If you take some frozen chicken, thaw it, refreeze it, then thaw it again and then don’t cook it properly you will be at a higher risk of gettig sick, but the increase in risk is minimal.

So long as you cook it properly, heated to over 70 degrees celcious inside and out, it will be safe to eat, regardless of how many times it has been frozen. You will just lose quality.

Note: don’t quote me or try to sue if you get sick, I have been known to be stupid in the past.

EmptyNest's avatar

GA, @poisonedantidote! Thanks. And I love the disclaimer! LOL

YARNLADY's avatar

I always cook it first, then repackage and refreeze. I strongly recommend you repackage the meat before you refreeze it.

perspicacious's avatar

The answer is generally no. However, much of the meat you buy at a supermarket has been frozen, you buy it unfrozen, and take it home and put it in the freezer. So, what’s the answer? I’ve heard that as along as there are still ice crystals in the meat it can be refrozen. I don’t know what to tell you. I, myself, do not refreeze meat.

Keep_on_running's avatar

Yes. The chance you will get sick or violently ill is so low that I wouldn’t worry about it.

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