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Old 02-25-2007, 08:00 PM   #1
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Is it ok to refreeze thawed chicken?

As the title says i'm curious if it is o.k. to refreeze unthawed chicken?/

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Old 02-25-2007, 08:13 PM   #2
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You CAN refreeze chicken that you have thawed, but its not the safest practice. Better to cook it and freeze it after that.
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Old 02-25-2007, 08:46 PM   #3
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I've always wondered about this - why is it not completely safe?

I heard it had something to do with bacteria having time to grow, but if the chicken is only thawed for a few hours, does it really do that much harm?
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Old 02-25-2007, 09:01 PM   #4
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If you have thawed the chicken in your refrigerator, the problem is not with bacteria but texture. Repeated thawing and freezing damages the cell walls in the chicken causing deterioriation of the texture of the meat.
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Old 02-25-2007, 09:27 PM   #5
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I'd say don't refreeze. Cook it. Chop the meat and use it to make enchiladas, quesadillas, chicken salads. Whatever juices/broth are left, freeze that to add to soups, etc. However, it depends on how much chicken you've "almost" thawed.
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:24 PM   #6
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The key here is the OP is asking about putting frozen chicken BACK in the freezer. If the product you want to put back in the freezer still has ice crystals on it it's probably ok. I've done this many times successfully.
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:40 PM   #7
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It's ok ONLY IF you defrosted it in the refrigerator - and it's been held at a temperature of 40ºF or lower for no more than a couple of days. A lot of chickens you buy in the grocery store have been frozen, or partially frozen, and thaw overnight in the display case.

If you defrosted it in the microwave, under cold running water, or sitting on the counter - it should be cooked immediately! The cooked chicken can then be frozen.
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:15 AM   #8
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Michael in FtW: I'm not sure where you're coming from RE Microwaves.

The issue with the chicken isn't the bacteria content, but the toxins they produce as a byproduct of being around. Cooking kills off the bacteria but not the toxins, hence the problem.

Defrosting in the microwave is much quicker then defrosting in the fridge. Even though it may warm the food more then the fridge, it does so so quickly I think it would have less toxins then the fridge method, especially when you consider that microwaves are fairly destructive to organic lifeforms.

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, though.
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Old 02-26-2007, 09:45 AM   #9
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This is really interesting. I didn't know you could refreeze anything that had been completely thawed. My former butcher told me you could refreeze chicken that had only been partially thawed.... at least that was his practice..... or at least what he told me. I used to buy chicken backs from him by the case and he would bag them for me so many/bag. They came in frozen and would be refrozen when I picked them up.

I knew a microbiologist that worked for a frozen fish filet company. He told me that there would be a thermometer hidden in the shipments to check if the truckers had turned off their refridgeration system and the fish had gotten above a certain temp. If it did he would refuse the load and the trucker would call a local low cost grocery store. They always accepted the fish and resold it to the public.
Now you would think if he wouldn't take it, with all the processing and frying done to it before the finished filets are dropped in the box, then how could it be sold to the public as is?

Anyway, I've always held the belief if it's been completely thawed you need to cook it before refreezing.
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Old 02-26-2007, 11:02 AM   #10
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I was at our local market one day (before Walmart ran them out of business) looking in the open freezer case at snacks for the teenage grandson (bottomless pit) that we were raising. He loves Totino's Pizza Rolls , but I found all the boxes on the top 2-3 layers were thawed out. I alerted the manager, with whom I was on friendly terms, and he said, "Oh don't worry about it. That happens when the freezers defrosts itself."
Well, it DID worry me, because according to my information, it's unsafe to re-freeze meat products. But evidentally it's not a problem, because I never heard of anyone getting sick from Totino's Pizza Rolls from Big Johns, and in this small town, we would have heard about it.
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