The Food Safety Information Council today released Omnipoll consumer research which shows that 76% of Australians incorrectly think it’s not safe to refreeze raw chicken that has been safely defrosted in the fridge.
Cathy Moir, FSIC’s Chair, said during Australian Food Safety Week we want to bust some of the myths about food safety and one of those persistent myths is that it is unsafe to refreeze chicken that has been defrosted in the fridge.
‘It has been such a common myth over the years that you can’t refreeze raw chicken or other raw meats that have been safely defrosted in the fridge. This myth is more common among older Australians with 88% of those over 65 thinking this is unsafe compared with 58% of 18 to 24 year-olds,’ Ms Moir said.
Dr Vivien Kite, Executive Director of the Australian Chicken Meat Federation agrees with Ms Moir, saying, ‘Can you refreeze chicken? is one of the most searched terms that brings people to the ACMF’s website.’
‘While it’s absolutely the case that you need to take care with the way you defrost raw chicken, if it has been properly defrosted in the fridge it’s quite safe to refreeze. Minimising food waste is an important objective for our entire community, so it’s important for us to clarify this fact.’ FSIC’s Cathy Moir said.
‘We’ve all been in the situation where we have defrosted more frozen chicken or meat than we may need for dinner and then plans change. As long as the raw chicken, or any other frozen food, has been safely defrosted in a fridge running at 5°C or below, it is perfectly food safe to refreeze it to use at a later date. What you will get is a slight loss in the eating quality of the chicken so use it up as soon as you can.
‘The survey also found that 83% of respondents correctly said you shouldn’t refreeze if the chicken had been defrosted out of the fridge on the benchtop at room temperature. That is definitely unsafe as food poisoning bacteria can grow rapidly in these conditions. 93% of those over 65 got this right although 67% of 18 to 24 year-olds thought it fine to refreeze chicken defrosted on the bench.
You can keep your chicken and other meats safe by following these simple tips:
- Bring your chicken and other refrigerated or frozen foods home from shopping in a cooler bag with an ice brick.
- Do not wash raw chicken before cooking as this will spread any bacteria throughout your kitchen.
- Use your chicken or other refrigerated meat within 2 to 3 days (or follow manufacturer’s instructions) and store it in leak proof containers in the fridge which has a fridge thermometer to make sure the fridge is running at or below 5°
- If you don’t plan to use your meat or chicken within 2 to 3 days then divide large pieces into usable portions and freeze immediately.
- Only defrost the necessary amount and the safest way to defrost your chicken or meat is in the fridge at 5°C (for up to 24 hours).
- If you need it urgently, defrost in the microwave using the auto defrost setting and remember to follow any prompts, but cook immediately afterwards.
‘Finally, if you do end up with too much defrosted chicken or meat you can also cook it, divide any large amounts into small containers and then freeze once it has stopped steaming. This is a great way to be both food safe and prevent food waste’, Ms Moir concluded.
‘This Australian Food Safety Week we want Australians to learn more about food safety so test your knowledge and take the food safety quiz on the Food Safety Information Council website www.foodsafety.asn.au ,’ Ms Moir concluded.
The Food Safety Information Council would like to thank their members First for Training and the Australian Chicken Meat Federation for their charitable donations to support Australian Food Safety Week. Specific information about chicken meat and food safety can be found at www.chicken.org.au
Lydia Buchtmann, Food Safety Information Council, 0407 626 688
Annabel Selby-Jones, Australian Chicken Meat Federation, 0437 002 861 or firstname.lastname@example.org