Is it safe to refreeze meat that has been cooked? The opinion of a nutritionist

Is it safe to refreeze meat that has been cooked?  The opinion of a nutritionist

Although it is strongly discouraged from a health point of view to refreeze a thawed product, we often hear that meat that has been cooked can return to the freezer compartment. Right or wrong ? A nutritionist's answer.

Freezing and defrosting food is a practice that meets several safety rules to avoid poisoning. But if it is understood that we never refreeze a thawed product (because of the bacteria that has developed), what about cooked meat? When the preparation (or the barbecue!) is more extensive than expected? Can you keep leftovers cold?

This is what you can do with cooked meat

On this subject, popular opinions differ. Some people will tell you that yes, any cooked meat can go back into the freezer while others, on the contrary, will cry foul, and at the risk of getting sick when you eat said meat. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a much clearer response:

“After cooking previously frozen raw foods, it is possible to safely freeze cooked foods. And if previously cooked food is thawed in the refrigerator, you can refreeze the unused portion”.

So you are set.

Precautions to follow despite everything

However, refreezing cooked meat, after the barbecue or when there are too large portions of dish in sauce for example, is not always a good idea according to Chelsea Edwards, American nutritionist in Alabama, who discussed the subject in The media Southern Living. And this for two reasons.

A health risk

First of all, there is still a health reason according to her, if you waited too long: “There are some cases where it is dangerous to refreeze meat. Meat left at room temperature for more than two hours should not be refrozen and should be discarded as it carries a risk of foodborne illness.”

This dish left on your table or the work surface during the meal should therefore no longer be consumed!

An alteration of taste

In addition, re-freezing could also affect the eating quality of the meat, such as its texture and flavor. “Moisture can be lost during the freezing and thawing process, which can make meat grainy, dry and not really chewy.” she specifies.

Two good reasons to eat without wasting or to produce adjusted portions, rather than refreezing.

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