Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety
at home podcast series. These podcasts were designed with
you in mind - the consumer - who purchases and prepares meat, poultry
and processed meat, egg products for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging
from safe storage, handling, and preparation of meat, poultry and
processed egg products to the importance of keeping foods safe during
a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to ďFood Safety at Home.Ē Iím Jeff White with the Food
Safety and Inspection Service. Todayís topic is thawing meat and
poultry safely. Letís listen-in as two friends discuss their
upcoming dinner party.
Have you received all the RSVPs for the dinner party?
Yes, weíre expecting nine guests tomorrow evening.
Thatís wonderful! I am really looking forward to seeing
everyone. Do you have everything you need?
Yes, I have the chicken safely thawing in the refrigerator and I
finished the food shopping this afternoon.
When did you take the chicken out of the freezer?
Oh, I donít think it will be thawed by tomorrow. Isnít it an
eight pound chicken?
You might be right! Itís still as hard as a rock. What am I
going to do? (pause) I knowÖ Iíll put it on the counter
overnight. Itíll thaw by morning.
I donít know if thatís such a safe idea.
Why? My Mom used to do it all the time.
Donít you remember what your friend Frank, the chef said? He was
always talking about cooking and handling food safely. As a
matter of fact he gave you the USDA ďIs it Done yet?Ē magnet on
Thatís right. The magnet shows the safe minimum internal
temperatures for meat, poultry and fish and lists a toll-free
number for USDAís Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-674-6854.
Letís call them to find out how to thaw the chicken safely and
in time for the party.
Go ahead. Give them a call.
Good afternoon, Meat and Poultry Hotline, may I help you?
I need to thaw an eight pound chicken in time to cook for a
dinner party tomorrow night. IĎve had it in the refrigerator
over night but itís still as hard as a rock.
An eight pound chicken could take up to three days to thaw in
the refrigerator. Even small amounts of frozen food, such as a
pound of ground meat or boneless chicken breasts can take a
whole day to thaw.
Oh no, that wonít do. I need to cook it tomorrow!
Donít worry, there are other options. The chicken, or any other
meat for that matter, can be thawed in cold water. This method
requires more attention, but itís quicker. Just fill a clean
sink with cold water and, keeping the chicken in its original
packaging, submerge it. Change the water every thirty minutes.
Itíll take only a few hours to thaw, and remember, you should
cook it immediately after thawing by the cold water method.
What are the other options?
The chicken can be thawed in the microwave, as long as it fits.
Check the ownersí manual for the recommended size of chicken for
your microwave. But remember, as soon as itís thawed, it should
go right into the oven. This applies to other meats as well.
The very last option would be to cook the chicken while itís
Yes, itís safe to cook a frozen chicken or any other frozen
meat, but it will take up to fifty percent longer than, when
fully thawed. For the chicken, remember to remove the giblet
package during the cooking time. Remove it carefully with tongs
or a fork. The chickenís done when it reaches a safe minimum
internal temperature of one hundred and sixty- five degrees
Fahrenheit, as measured with a food thermometer. Check the
temperature in the innermost part of the thigh, the wing and the
thickest part of the breast.
Wonderful! Our dinner party wonít be ruined! Thanks!
What a great party, the foodís excellent!
Thank you. I was lucky enough to speak to the specialist at the
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline. She helped me with a safe, quick
way to thaw the chicken. If it werenít for her great advice,
this bird might still be frozen!
You can find this information and much more by visiting the FSIS
Web site at: www.fsis.usda.gov. Or visit our virtual
representative ďAsk KarenĒ at askkaren.gov.
Consumers may also call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry
Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. Thatís 1-888-674-6854.
Thatís it for this week. Weíve been talking about thawing meat
and poultry safely. Iím Jeff White. Thanks for joining us for
this episode of ďFood Safety at Home.Ē And remember, ďBe Food
Well, that's all for this time. Thanks for joining us today
for another episode of food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free
Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That's 1-888-674-6854.
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our
virtual representative "Ask Karen" at
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments
Thanks for tuning in.
April 7, 2010