Originally Posted by Hades
Michael and/or Vera... What's wrong with defrosting meat in the microwave? I have a defrosting programme on my microwave and I use it all the time because I was told it's the safest way to defrost "dangerous" (poultry, meat,fish,...) food items. You got me worried now
The problems with microwave defrosting is that the microwave really doesn't know what it's defrosting. Sure, there are panels and numbers to punch with weights and times, but still, it's extremely black and white. It cannot tell if the meat is thicker on one side, or if it's sitting on styrofoam, or if bones are involved, etc.
Instead, what can(and does ) happen is that someone can press those buttons and simply walk away, letting a blind appliance do a dangerous job. Meat or poultry should defrost evenly to keep the temperature below 40 degrees at all times.
Cool or cold to the touch is not necessarily 40 degrees. Once meat is defrosted you begin a countdown, regardless if it's in the fridge or not. Defrosted meat has a life expectancy in the fridge, and an even shorter life out of the fridge.
Defrosting in the microwave is a convenience and should only be used that way.(Yeah, I know no one wants to hear that.) Since there is a great propensity for some of the microwave defrosted meat to be higher in temperature than other parts, it's imperative that you bring the whole thing up to a proper cooked temperature as quickly as possible. That doesn't necessarily mean 140, either. 140 is only the holding temperture of cooked food. It first has to reach the cooked temperature first.
There are three acceptable ways to defrost food according to my certification. Some have conditions.
1. Defrost in the refrigerator
2. Defrost under running water. Running water is the operative word. If the water cannot continually run, it must be changed every half hour.
3. Microwave. The defrosted product must be cooked immediately upon removing it from the appliance.
The first example is the safest and preferred method. They are listed in order of safety after that.
I know many people defrost on the counter, or in the mic, and say "I always do it this way, and I'm just fine'. The way I look at it...I wear a seat belt even though I'm a good driver. I see the risks as similar, plus the defrost example also puts others in possible danger.
At the end of the day, my preference is to buy meat or poultry, keep it in the fridge, and then use it within a day or two. I no longer store meat in my freezer.