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Can you refreeze already thawed meat?


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September 21, 2009 1:06AM

Frozen food defrosted or thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen. However, the bacteria in food can multiply even at low temperatures. Refrigerating food will not stop bacterial growth: just slow it. So do not refreeze food that has be defrosted for some time even if it has been refrigerated the whole time.

Freezing meat will cause a loss of quality as the ice crystals break cell walls. Freezing, defrosting and refreezing will make this loss of quality much greater, so be aware that refrozen meat (cooked or raw) will be of lower quality than once frozen meat. Also remember that freezing does not kill off the bacteria, so bacterial growth will pick up again once thawed.

It may be better to freeze the thawed meat after it has been cooked. Refreezing meat isn't a good idea. But if you must, the meat should not have been old the first time it was frozen, it should have been thawed under refrigeration and then frozen again shortly after being thawed. Realize that the quality of the meat will be negatively affected. The flavor will likely degrade and the meat will be drier and tougher when cooked.