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How to freeze food – without getting ill

How to freeze food – without getting ill


Time to face our freezer fears. Not the fear of an 80s demon dog residing in the fridge that some of us still possess from binge viewings of Ghostbusters, but our mistaken belief that frozen food is bad for us. According to a survey of 1,500 consumers by the Food Standards Agency, the government’s food watchdog, 43% think food should only be frozen on the day of purchase for it to be safe, 38% say it is dangerous to refreeze meat after it has been cooked and 36% believe frozen food could become unsafe in the freezer.

None of this is true. All of it contributes to the 7m tonnes of food binned in the UK each year that could have been eaten. The FSA estimates that 4.2m tonnes of this waste – the equivalent of a family binning six meals a week – are thrown out because of confusion around how to freeze food safely.

So how do we know if the packet of mince stuck to the back of the freezer since Christmas is going to make us sick? How should we defrost a prawn? And is our distaste for frozen food really just snobbery and an aversion to the culinary habits of the 70s? (In a word, yes.) Here’s how to freeze food safely … 

Freeze raw meat and fish right up to the use-by date. Guidelines no longer state that food should be frozen on the day of purchase, which, if you think about it, is nonsensical anyway because you might have purchased it on its use-by date.

The warmer the temperature, the busier the bacteria – so defrost food slowly, preferably overnight in the fridge. Cook within 24 hours.

Can you ever refreeze food? The answer is, confusingly, no – and yes. read more at