Can frozen meat or fish be contaminated?

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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"Is there any chance frozen meat or fish could be contaminated?"

Uncooked frozen meat and fish is nearly as likely as fresh to be contaminated, says Donald Schaffner, an expert on microbial risk at Rutgers University. “The good news is that bacteria do not multiply in frozen foods,” says Dr. Schaffner.

The reason fish and meat can’t be held indefinitely in the freezer is that they may oxidize, which can lead to rancid flavors and other undesirable changes in both flavor and texture.

For more information on freezing foods, see our Fill-Up-Your-Freezer Storage Guide.

Marge Perry
May, 2012
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