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Food Safety Focus (195th Issue, October 2022) – Article 3

Defrost Frozen Beef Correctly

Recently, an online discussion on defrosting frozen raw beef by washing directly under water aroused public attention. While bite-sized foods such as dumplings can be cooked directly without defrosting, bigger items like raw meat should be properly defrosted before cooking.

To keep food safe, defrosting frozen food inside the refrigerator at 0-4°C is the preferred method. Defrosting food in a fridge can take time, usually overnight, so plan ahead and keep raw food separate from cooked food. Defrosting frozen raw beef under running water is an alternative method. When doing so, keep the frozen beef in a leak-proof package or plastic bag. This can avoid washing away the myoglobins in the beef and minimise the contamination of the countertop by the splashes which may contain pathogens from the raw beef. Defrosting raw beef at room temperature is unsafe and not recommended.