Is It Safe To Refreeze Ground Beef After Thawing

The right way to refreeze thawed ground beef

Purchasing ground beef can be challenging due to the possibility of bacterial contamination. However, freezing and thawing it is even more challenging. The USDA advises against leaving meat on the countertop for more than an hour or two because bacteria can grow and spread quickly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The same thing may occur if the meat is frozen and then thawed in a microwave or cold water.

As previously mentioned, its safe to refreeze ground beef that has been thawed in the refrigerator, according to the USDA. Just make sure it doesnt stay longer than one or two days in the fridge. If you thawed the meat in the microwave or in cold water, cook it thoroughly before freezing it to kill harmful bacteria. All in all, you can refreeze partially or fully thawed meat thats still cold to the touch.

Repeatedly thawing and freezing ground beef can alter its quality. Because of this, it’s advisable to cook your meat after it has thawed rather than freezing it again. For a quick and easy dinner, you could, for instance, cook ground beef with onions and peppers. Use a large package of ground beef for shepherd’s pie, stuffed peppers, casseroles, and meatloaf.

For example, freezing and thawing meat more than one time might cause color and odor changes, moisture loss, and increased oxidation of its fat and protein (3, 4, 5, 6).

Any changes to a meat’s ability to retain moisture might also significantly affect the tenderness and juiciness of the meat (6, 7).

As an alternative, meat that has been thawed in the microwave or under cold water needs to be cooked immediately to guarantee safety.

However, a review of the literature on the effects of cool and frozen storage on red meat discovered that freezing meats for a shorter amount of time may help mitigate some of the potential harm that freezing can do to the meat’s quality (8).

Interestingly, in some cases, chilled storage and freezing meat more than once may have positive effects on these factors (8, 9).

Safety will be determined by how the raw material was treated before freezing, how soon it was frozen after thawing, how it was cooked to a safe temperature for consumption, and how any leftovers were handled.

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Food can be safely refrozen without cooking once it has thawed in the fridge, though the moisture lost during thawing may cause a quality loss. Foods that were previously frozen in raw form can safely be cooked and then frozen. Foods that have already been cooked and thawed in the fridge can have the excess frozen. Freeze leftovers within 3-4 days. If food is left out of the refrigerator for more than two hours, refreeze it after one hour in temperatures above 90 °F.

According to the USDA, if you buy previously frozen meat, poultry, or fish at a retail establishment, you can refreeze it if you handle it carefully.

Freezing and Food Safety: Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), United States Department of Agriculture