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Avoiding illnesses from frozen foods

November 19, 2014

A lot of people believe that if food has been frozen, it carries no risk of food poisoning. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It is important to practise proper food safety in any setting, including when you are dealing with frozen food products, as food poisoning is not only limited to freshly prepared produce.

If you are one of the many people who fall into a high-risk category in regards to your immune system, it is even more essential to observe and understand the steps associated with proper food preparation and storage. People who suffer from chronic illnesses, elderly people, young children and pregnant women are all susceptible to elevated levels of risk.

Steps to follow

First of all, any meat product that has been frozen should be handled just as carefully as fresh meat because defrosted meat provides an excellent environment in which bacteria can thrive. Remember, frozen meat products should be thawed in the fridge before cooking. Avoid leaving items to defrost on the kitchen counter as this provides an opportunity for the outer layer of food to heat and breed pathogens. Meat should always be thoroughly cooked to destroy any potentially harmful organisms.

Dairy and eggs can be frozen, but it is important to understand how freezing effects these foods. The nutritional value is often compromised, and the texture of foods such as cheese can be affected. Eggs can only be frozen if they are not in their shells or they will break and, like dairy products, should never be re-frozen once thawed.

Fresh produce can typically retain its nutritional value quite well throughout the freezing and thawing process. However, flavour and texture can be affected if it is re-frozen.

Regardless of the food in question, if any signs of spoilage can be seen, the food should be thrown away and not eaten. Texture, smell, and colour should all be normal even after an item of food has been frozen.