Thawing Frozen Food

Thawing frozen food safelyAll kitchens must ensure that food that is still frozen or partially frozen is handled and prepared hygienically.  The risk of food poisoning is especially great as the outside of the food may be cooked, but the centre may still be raw or not completely cooked and could contain food-poisoning bacteria.  To ensure that your staff has relevant knowledge of food preparation, it is advisable to enrol in our Food Safety Supervisor course.

Here are some effective methods of ensuring that food is safely prepared and served to your customers.

Defrosting meat, seafood and poultry

  • It is best to defrost frozen food in a refrigerator or cool room.  This takes longer than room temperature, so some planning is required.  Keep in mind that some food, such as large joints of meat, can take up to 2 days to thaw.

  • Separate meat, poultry and fish from other food as the juices from the defrosting meat may leak onto other food, causing cross-contamination.  You can do this by storing meat in sealed containers.

Other essential steps include:

  • Ensure food is thoroughly defrosted before cooking; unless, if manufacturer’s instruction specify that cooking frozen food is safe (for example: microwavable meals).

  • Use the defrosted food as soon as possible.

  • If your venue regularly defrosts a large amount of food, it is worth considering having a dedicated defrosting refrigerator or cold room space.

  • It is good practice to discard food that has been thawed by using the ‘defrost’ setting on a microwave, as food-poisoning bacteria can multiply in this time.

  • If it is not possible to defrost food in the refrigerator or chiller, you can defrost food in a bench.  However, you must monitor if the food is in the temperature danger zone of 5°C to 60°C.  Food should be kept in a covered dish or container so that it doesn’t contaminate the preparation area or other food.

Still have more questions about food safety?  Find out how our Food Safety Supervisor course can benefit your kitchen staff and protect your venue.