We’re probably all pretty well versed in the risks raw chicken can pose. If you’re not careful you can get salmonella and other bacterial infections you don’t want anywhere near your body. This is why it’s so important to cook your chicken properly – and that starts with the process of freezing and thawing.
A common question is whether it’s safe to freeze chicken again after it’s already been frozen and thawed. If you’ve found yourself asking this, you’re not alone. Let’s find out the answer.
Is it safe to re-freeze chicken meat?
In case you didn’t know, Food Safety Week takes place from November 13 to 18. In honour of this important occasion, the Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF) has blessed us with some sound advice to the most asked question on its website.
Can you re-freeze chicken that has been thawed?
“Yes, you can re-freeze chicken,” said ACMF Executive Director Dr. Vivien Kite in a media release.
Hallelujah for all of us who defrost their meat ahead of time and then immediately regret it after ordering takeaway every night instead. Just me?
While it is safe to re-freeze your chicken, Dr Kite has pointed out a couple of rules.
“Just make sure it was properly defrosted in the fridge in the first place, and it hasn’t been longer than 24 hours since you defrosted it.”
This is an important distinction and means you should not re-freeze chicken that has been thawed at room temperature. In fact, don’t defrost your chicken on the kitchen bench at all.
“If you defrost your chicken meat on the kitchen bench, and then re-freeze it, you’ll be storing any bacteria that may have multiplied during thawing at room temperature, and these can start growing again next time you defrost it!” Dr Kite explained.
ACMF recommends thawing it on the lowest shelf of your refrigerator at below 5 degrees Celsius.
Dr Kite said this myth that you can’t re-freeze chicken was born of two reasons: quality and safety.
“While it is safe to put chicken that has been defrosted below five degrees back into the freezer, the quality of the meat may deteriorate after thawing and refreezing. The reduction in quality can be caused by several things, such as the formation of ice crystals in the cells of the meat that can break down the meat so that it no longer looks as good as it did when it was bought.
“This affects the look of the chicken meat much more than the taste, and definitely does not affect the safety of the chicken, so the good news is that you don’t have to waste it – it’s still fine to cook for dinner.”
So there you have it. While thawed and re-frozen chicken might not look as appealing as it did in its prime, it’s still safe to eat.
Just remember that once it’s been properly thawed, it’s equally important to cook chicken thoroughly to get rid of any bacteria lurking within. If you’re still curious, ACMF has plenty of chicken tips, tricks and facts over on its website.
Now we’ve got frozen chicken out of the way, are you familiar with the signs that your red meat has gone off? Your body will thank you for it.