Why you should NEVER defrost meat in the microwave

Publish Date
Thursday, 4 January 2018, 9:30AM
Photo / Getty

Photo / Getty

Some do it in the microwave, while others use the fridge or the kitchen counter.

But now a food scientist has revealed that there is only one safe way to defrost meat - and it's not by using a setting on an appliance.

Prof Costas Stathopoulos, of Abertay University in Dundee, said you should always defrost food in the fridge over several hours, or you risk eating dangerous levels of bacteria, the Daily Mail reports.

The food scientist made the revelation in an episode of Inside the Factory on BBC Two after co-presenter Cherry Healey reveals she always uses the defrost setting on a microwave to thaw meat.

It finally puts the rest the debate about the best way to thaw food. 

Of microwaving to defrost meat, Prof Stathopoulos said: "It is really not the best of techniques. 

"It is always the recommendation to follow the instructions on the packaging."

He goes on to reveal that the standard food hygiene advice is to defrost meat products in the fridge.

The cold temperature slows down bacterial growth which reduces the risk of an upset stomach, he explains.

Only one in 10 people are confident about how to safely freeze and defrost food, the show reveals.  

To hammer home how important it is to defrost meat safely, Prof Stathopoulos shows Cherry how much bacteria grows when meat is thawed after being frozen.

He compares two petri dishes which both contain samples of turkey meat.

One portion of the meat has been thawed in the fridge, while the other was defrosted at room temperature after being left on the kitchen counter.

The turkey left at room temperature is revealed to have twice the bacteria of the meat that has been left to thaw in the fridge, including ecoli microorganisms. 

Prof Stathopoulos also confirms that reheating food that was previously frozen will mean bacteria multiply and make the food unsafe to eat.

Cherry explains: "Every time you defrost food, the bacteria multiplies. If you refreeze it, you're also freezing more bacteria." 

But Prof Stathopoulos reveals that you can refreeze cooked food, even if it was previously frozen when raw.

He says you can keep food in the freezer for up to six months, but that food will start to degrade in quality after that point. 

This article was first published on Daily Mail and is republished here with permission.