Thawing meat and food safety

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Malcolm
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Thawing meat and food safety

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:46 am

This is probably as good a place as any to ask this as I'm sure there plenty of members qualified to answer.

I live in a share house and often my house mates will take frozen meat out of the freezer, put into very hot water and leave it for several hours before cooking. I worked in food manufacturing for many years, albeit in administration, but one does pick up some of the science, and I'm not sure if this is a very good idea!

My understanding is that if you are going to cook meat at 6pm that has been frozen, you take it out of the freezer at about 6pm the previous evening and let it thaw overnight and the next day in the fridge to minimise the possibility of harmful bacteria forming.

Any comments?

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Malcolm
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guitarrista
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Re: Thawing meat and food safety

Post by guitarrista » Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:12 am

You are right, what they are doing is very dangerous. The safest method, though it requires planning, is the one you describe - thawing in the refrigerator overnight. That said, if the meat cuts (if they are cuts) are 1 inch or so, but not (much) thicker, thawing in relatively hot running water can be accomplished in under 15min, which means going through the bacteria-growing temperature danger zone pretty quickly - provided the meat is then promptly taken out of the water bath.

Someone actually studied this - see "Effect of Rapid Thawing on the Meat Quality Attributes of USDA Select Beef Strip Loin Steaks".
Last edited by guitarrista on Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MessyTendon
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Re: Thawing meat and food safety

Post by MessyTendon » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:13 am

Warm water and thawing is fine if you change the water, if you just leave it in hot water for a few hours that could be a problem.

I quickly thaw meat with warm water, the frozen meat will re-chill the warm water, keep changing it out a few times every thirty minutes till it starts to thaw then add room temp water, the frozen meat will stay cool enough and safe enough to use.

Use common sense...Don't leave it hot water. Start with semi hot water....the frozen meat should cool it down enough...change the water to cooler room temp water, or even add a few ice cubes if you want...

The USDA can eat crow. There is nothing wrong with eating raw meat...the irrational fear of bacteria is getting all of our guts deficient in what we actually need and that is bacteria.

Just don't leave it for hours and hours. Thaw it gradually and make sure it is still cold, then bring it up to temp and cook it.

People are far too paranoid about thawing meat or eating pink meat...Try eating a raw a steak it won't kill you.

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Re: Thawing meat and food safety

Post by Intune » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:20 am

I often freeze organic chicken that I buy sealed in a watertight -- and possibly airtight -- plastic bag. I freeze it, and later thaw it out in hot water, while it's still sealed in its original bag. Is this as dangerous as thawing out unsealed raw meat in hot water, as described above, or does being sealed in plastic during freezing and thawing protect the chicken from bacteria contamination?
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Lawler
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Re: Thawing meat and food safety

Post by Lawler » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:40 am

Interesting thread. I usually thaw meat in the refrigerator but sometimes finish it up with a little time in the microwave if it hasn't thawed completely. That's tricky though... easy to over-do it and end up with microwave-browned meat, which is horrible.

Regarding meat and health safety in general, the grocery stores I shop at are interesting. At one (a Japanese store) everything is handled with the utmost cleanliness - for instance, spraying the check-out aisle conveyor belt with cleaner and wiping down every time there's a drip mark, and bagging raw meat separately without me having to ask. At other stores it's quite different.

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lagartija
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Re: Thawing meat and food safety

Post by lagartija » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:38 am

Intune wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:20 am
I often freeze organic chicken that I buy sealed in a watertight -- and possibly airtight -- plastic bag. I freeze it, and later thaw it out in hot water, while it's still sealed in its original bag. Is this as dangerous as thawing out unsealed raw meat in hot water, as described above, or does being sealed in plastic during freezing and thawing protect the chicken from bacteria contamination?
Your faulty assumption is that the chicken does not have pathogenic bacteria on it before it was bagged. I have seen warnings on bagged , sealed frozen duck legs, that say that it should be thawed outside the sealed bag, in a refrigerator.

I guess the concern is that pathogenic bacteria will multiply quite rapidly inside the bag if conditions are warm enough.

I use the microwave to defrost things if I haven’t thought far enough ahead about dinner.

I can’t eat raw meat (or fish for that matter)...as I get older, I seem to lack the enzymes to break down the protein without the help of cooking. I used to like sushi, but it doesn’t like me anymore. :-/
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Terpfan
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Re: Thawing meat and food safety

Post by Terpfan » Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:07 am

Thawing it in a Hot water for several hours is not dangerous, but the quality will suffer. Be will have very dry piece of steak or something. Thawing in refrigerator is best because of food safety and quality of the meat will be much better than quickly thawed meat.

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Re: Thawing meat and food safety

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:12 pm

Lagartija nailed it - the big problem is the thawing method for meat that is already contaminated. If you thaw contaminated meat in the fridge, then immediately cook it from no greater than 40F, you're good to go. But a piece of contaminated meat allowed to come up to room temp and stay there for hours will allow the bacteria to grow through many generations. Still if you cook it, you will be okay unless there is a toxin produced like with C. botulinum, which is not destroyed by cooking.

Most contamination produces spoilage and bad flavors. Some are pathogenic and will make you very sick. So you have to adopt practices that cover the worst case scenario(s).
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Dirck Nagy
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Re: Thawing meat and food safety

Post by Dirck Nagy » Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:27 pm

MessyTendon wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:13 am
People are far too paranoid about thawing meat or eating pink meat...Try eating a raw a steak it won't kill you.
Tartarpihvi! Yum!

Lamb is good too: Kibbeh nayyeh!

cheers
dirck

Malcolm
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Re: Thawing meat and food safety

Post by Malcolm » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:07 am

Thanks for all your responses. Diverging slightly from the main topic, is it true that any food, whether raw or cooked, will keep pretty much forever provided it is frozen in a timely manner?

Cheers,
Malcolm
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Re: Thawing meat and food safety

Post by simonm » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:29 am

There was a "scandal" in the EU more than a decade ago about "gammalfleish" (ancient meat). It was discovered that some meat used in kebabs (?) was actually 1-30 years old. The EU manipulates meat prices by buying up stuff from the market and storing it in "intervention" and this with luck is subsequently sold. But it is stored in cold storage for some time. Some of this ancient stuff came back into the food chain by devious means. (For whatever reason there was no scandal about the cost of storage, just that the meat was in the market.).

Anyway the the public authorities declared this old meat to be unfit for human consumption. So 10-30 year old meat is considered too old for human consumption at least in the EU. Not sure exactly where they would draw the line and of course not sure if it would actually be dangerous if the freezing process was good.

Richard Bosten
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Re: Thawing meat and food safety

Post by Richard Bosten » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:25 pm

Any potentially hazardous food is subject to the 4hr above 40* rule. Any phf type (potentially hazardous food) that has been above 40 degrees longer than 4 hrs is unsafe. Also the time is cumulative.
If you take a frozen burger out for an hour one day and out for 4 hours the next then its cumulative time above safe temp is 5 hours and is unsafe.
So just remember 4 -40 . 4 hours above 40 is the cut off point. The temp is Fahrenheit . The best method is to thaw under refrigeration. Cold running water is ok as well but the time factor must be observed . I am a chef and have to learn and teach this stuff from time to time. The rules change a little from year to year such as 41* instead of 40 but the 4-40 rule is easy to remember.

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