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Frozen meat question

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So I know that you are not supposed to thaw frozen meat then re-freeze it unless you cook it. Can someone tell me why?


My cats eat raw meat for most of their meals and I have been paying through the teeth for commercial food. I have some frozen chickens that I don't have any use for (vegetarians-to-meat-eating experiment gone bad.....) and thought I could use them for cat food. But this means thawing, processing, and refreezing. I am not sure that is OK, even for animal food.

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I've read that the USDA's current advice is to allow refreezing as long as the meat was thawed in a refrigerator. Provided it didn't get above a certain temperature (would be helpful if I knew that temp, wouldn't it? :tongue_smilie:), it's ok to put it back in the freezer.

Edited by Belacqua
Because "above" and "below" are very different, indeed
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We use to buy ground up chicken for our dog. We got it as a 5 pound bag of frozen stuff. I would thaw it out in the fridge and while it was still good and cold, I would make meatballs out of it, place on cookie sheets to refreeze. I never had any issues with it, except to find out the dog is allergic to chicken.

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Um, but do you plan to cook the chicken at any point for the cats? I'd be concerned about giving them raw chicken.


Nope. They have been on a mostly raw and all grain-free diet for about 4 months now. It has solved a whole list of medical problems they both had. I was skeptical, but have been amazed by the difference. About half of their current raw food is chicken. But I have to believe that the local chicken I have in my freezer is going to be better quality than what I am getting from the vet.

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I think it's mainly so that folks don't feel too comfortable with the refreezing thing and thaw-refreeze the same old piece of meat a dozen times.


While cooking kills bacteria, freezing simply suspends it -- sort of puts it in a coma. When we thaw meat, the bacteria (and nearly every chunk of meat has some...) starts multiplying. It will multiply slowly in the refrigerator (that's why we don't keep a drumstick for 3 or 4 months and then eat it) and very quickly at room temp (that's why after two hours at room temp, we should trash meat).


Our bodies can handle a little bacteria but not a lot.


So, if we thaw a piece of meat with a little bacteria then the bacteria reproduces some. If we refreeze it, it has more bacteria than when it was frozen the first time. I guess that's about the amount we can handle (assuming it didn't sit in the frig for a long time). If we thaw it again, once again, the bacteria multiply. If we refreeze it (third time in freezer) it's probably pretty full of bacteria. Etc., etc. etc.


So, perhaps either on refreeze or no refreezes are the safe way to go.


Remember too that bacteria produces toxins, and that's what makes us sick. Cooking food will kill bacteria but the toxins remain behind. A half year ago or so on here, I said that having germs in meat is sort of like having a pack of wild dogs in the backyard. You can shoo them out with your shotgun and get rid of the dogs (that's like cooking meat) but you are stuck with the toxins (that would be all the poop they leave behind).


So, when you cook meat, you kill the bacteria but the toxins remain.


Also, do consider that freezing meat does diminish the quality just a bit. A colder freezer forms smaller ice crystals than a not-so-cold one and therefore causes less damage. However, after a couple freeze-thaw cycles, I would think the meat would be weird texture and taste due to the degradation of freezing.


If you thaw meat and then quickly cook it, you can safely refreeze it because you've got the bacteria count down low again.

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Chickadee stir fry? Mole-a-la-king? :tongue_smilie:


I'm reasonably certain my husband would be willing to eat mole a la king if it would get them out of his lawn.


This thread serves to remind me of when I had the ineffable pleasure of watching a squirrel tear apart a little bird. He just sat on my deck and ripped it apart like so much barbecue. It was both revolting and fascinating. Pretty sure he didn't put it on the hibachi first, though.

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