Jan 12, 2009, 02:12 PM
While visiting my parents, they gave me a large frozen tube of ground beef. We were traveling by pickup truck, and I put the meat in the cab of the pickup. We drove for four hours, by night, with the outside temperature at 34 degrees. We got home and forgot about the meat in the cab of the pickup. It wasn't until the next day that we found it, almost completely thawed out but still cold to the touch. Can I still use this meat to cook w/ and then refreeze the cooked meals? I feel so bad just throwing it out, but I would feel worse if it made my family sick. Please help!
Jan 12, 2009, 02:34 PM
Well it wasn't really thawed at room temperature... 34 F is colder than most fridges are set at so you should be fine, it's generally recommended to use meat defrosted (but left in the fridge) within 24 hours.
Jan 13, 2009, 11:45 AM
I agree and have done it before. As long as it was under 38 degrees.
Feb 7, 2009, 09:08 PM
Hello there! I'm wondering if you're still alive.
As for the meat being left in the truck for a night and a day, between temperature fluctuations that you couldn't be 100% sure about and the possibility that it was exposed to sunlight, which would have changed the surface temperature of the meat (yes, even if it was cold to the touch), I would have some significant doubts. This is meat you're talking about, not a loaf of day old bread or a bundle of fresh asparagus. I know you didn't want to waste this food, but you wouldn't want to risk your health to salvage it. Well, if you really, really wanted to keep it, you could open the packaging and carefully inspect the meat for any change in color, texture or smell. The only thing is that you wouldn't be getting any guarantees. Despite all of these concerns, I wouldn't be surprised if you returned to post that the meat was perfectly fine after all. Still, it's not really something that should be recommended.
As far as the freezing/thawing/freezing thing goes, I was surprised by the information I found. It comes from a reputable source, so I would put my trust in it.
Freezing Meat - How Many Times Can You Freeze It? (http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf154130.tip.html)
Is It Safe to Refreeze Raw Meat and Poultry that Has Thawed? By Alice Henneman, MS, RD, UNL Extension in Lancaster County
"The U. S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) advises, "Meat and poultry defrosted in the refrigerator may be refrozen before or after cooking. If thawed by other methods, cook before refreezing." (Basics for Handling Food Safely, September 8, 2006).
(DO NOT thaw meat at room temperature, such as on the kitchen counter.)
Meat/poultry that is refrozen might suffer some quality loss as moisture may be lost during thawing.
Safety will depend on whether the raw product was handled properly before it was frozen, refrozen shortly after it was thawed, cooked to a safe temperature when it is eaten and handled safely if there are any leftovers."
Feb 9, 2009, 12:48 PM
Good point linealand but this never got to room temperature, or anywhere close, it stayed outdoors at 34 F overnight so it seems pretty safe that this was fine.
If it had spent 8 hours on a counter then it would most likely be good to dispose of it though.