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Is it safe to re-freeze raw chicken after it’s been defrosted?

Consumer research shows that 76% of Australians incorrectly think it’s not safe to re-freeze raw chicken that has been safely defrosted in the fridge, according to the Food Safety Information Council (FSIC).

Myth busted!

It’s a common myth that you can’t re-freeze raw chicken or other raw meats , even if it has been safely defrosted in the fridge.

This is not the case – you may re-freeze thawed chicken meat provided the chicken meat was defrosted in the fridge below 5°C and that it wasn’t defrosting for longer than 24 hours at this temperature.

But freezing and re-freezing chicken in this way may result in a deterioration in the eating quality but will not affect the safety of the meat.

The consumer research also found that 83% of respondents correctly said you shouldn’t re-freeze raw chicken that had been defrosted out of the fridge on the benchtop at room temperature. Although 93% of those over 65 got this right, 67% of 18 to 24 year-olds thought it fine to re-freeze raw chicken defrosted on the bench.

That is definitely unsafe as food poisoning bacteria can grow rapidly in these conditions.

Tips for keeping your chicken and other meats safe:

raw poultry meat

  1. Bring your chicken and other refrigerated or frozen foods home from shopping in a cooler bag with an ice brick
  2. Do not wash raw chicken before cooking as this will spread any bacteria throughout your kitchen
  3. Use your chicken or other refrigerated meat within 2 to 3 days (or follow manufacturer’s instructions) and store it in leak proof containers in the fridge which has a fridge thermometer to make sure the fridge is running at or below 5°C
  4. If you don’t plan to use your meat or chicken within 2 to 3 days then divide large pieces into usable portions and freeze immediately
  5. Only defrost the necessary amount and the safest way to defrost your chicken or meat is in the fridge at 5°C (for up to 24 hours)
  6. If you need it urgently, defrost in the microwave using the auto defrost setting but cook it immediately afterwards.

If you do end up with too much defrosted chicken or meat you can also cook it, divide any large amounts into containers and then freeze once it has stopped steaming. This is a great way to be both food safe and prevent food waste.

This year, Australian Food Safety Week runs from 13 – 20 November 2021.

Take the food safety quiz!

Test your knowledge by taking the food safety quiz on the Food Safety Information Council website:

More information

Specific information about chicken meat and food safety can be found at