|Script: Freezing and Food
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection
Service "Food Safety At Home" podcast series, featuring topics
for the safe handling, preparation and storage of meat, poultry
and processed egg products. So, sit back, turn up the volume and
Every year, the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline receives
thousands of calls from people who arenít sure about the safety
of items stored in their home freezers.
Here are some tips about freezing food products that could help
answer questions you may have.
Food stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit will be safe indefinitely.
Freezing does not destroy bacteria but they become inactive.
When thawed, however, these microbes can again become active.
Freezing does not destroy nutrients, but the quality may suffer
with lengthy freezer storage. Proper packaging helps maintain
quality and prevent freezer burn. It is safe to freeze food in
its original packaging however, consider overwrapping these
packages for long term storage. If the food does get freezer
burn, just cut that part off. Then cook the food as usual.
Freezer burn does not make the food unsafe. It is caused by air
coming in contact with the surface of the food and drying it
It is not safe to thaw perishable food on the counter! There are
three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water
or in the microwave. It takes about 24 hours for every 5 pounds
of food in the refrigerator. In cold water, it takes about 30
minutes for each pound of food, be sure to change the water
every half hour.
When thawing in cold water or using the microwave, cook the
thawed food immediately. Food defrosted in the microwave could
have some areas that began to cook during its thawing.
It is perfectly safe to refreeze food only if it was thawed in
the refrigerator. Cook foods immediately after thawing in cold
water or in a microwave. Refreeze cooked food or leftovers
within 3-4 days. And make sure to reheat leftovers until they
reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit before eating.
During a power outage, a full freezer will keep food safe for
about 2 days, if the door is kept shut. A half full freezer will
last about a day. The food will be safe if it has ice crystals
and is still refrigerator cold or 40 ļF or below. The food is
safe to refreeze.
Thatís it for this episode of Food Safety at Home, And remember,
Be Food Safe!
Thanks for listening to this Food Safety At Home podcast. Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending
your comments to
Last Modified: January 20, 2011