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Defrosting food safely

infographic defrosting food safely

Frozen foods may contain bacteria that can grow after thawing and cause food poisoning. Good thawing practices reduce the chance of foodborne illness and cut food waste. Follow these tips to defrost frozen foods safely.

What should I do?

Break up big pieces of frozen fish, shrimps or berries inside the packaging before thawing. Thaw only the necessary amount of food and keep the rest frozen.

Thaw meat, fish and seafood on a tray in the fridge to avoid contamination of other foods.

Thaw vegetables and fruit under cold running water, preferably in the original packaging.

Make sure your hands and utensils are clean when handling food, for example when breaking larger pieces of food into smaller pieces.

Don't forget!

  • Keep thawed foods in the original packaging or a suitable container to avoid contamination.
  • Thaw food at low temperature to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  • Cook thawed food before consumption to eliminate bacteria.
  • Do not refreeze food after defrosting.
  • Always follow the manufacturer's storage instructions to be sure food stays safe

EFSA is the keystone of EU risk assessment regarding food and feed safety. In close collaboration with national authorities in open consultation with its stakeholders, EFSA provides independent scientific advice and clear communication on existing and emerging risks.