Is Frozen Food Safe?
Yes. Food stored constantly at 0 °F will always be safe. Only the quality suffers with lengthy freezer storage. Freezing food slows down the movement of molecules, causing microbes to enter a dormant stage which in turn keeps the food safe from spoilage. By freezing food, you are preserving it for an extended period because it prevents the growth of any microorganisms which can cause food spoilage as well as food borne illness.
Does Freezing Destroy Bacteria & Parasites?
No, not necessarily. Freezing to 0 °F inactivates any microbes that may be present in food but does not necessarily destroy them. Once thawed, however, these microbes can again become active again and may multiply under the right conditions which can lead to food borne illness. Since they will then grow at about the same rate as on fresh food, you must handle thawed items as you would any perishable food.
*ALWAYS handle your pets’ raw food with FOOD SAFE in mind. Please treat it as you would your own meats and veggies.*
Freshness & Quality
Freshness and quality at the time of freezing affect the condition of frozen foods. If frozen at peak quality, thawed foods emerge tasting better than foods frozen near the end of their useful life.
*Buddies always freeze at peak quality time to preserve the freshness and quality of your pets’ food.*
The freezing process itself does not destroy nutrients. In meat and poultry products, there is little change in nutrient value during freezer storage.
Enzyme activity can lead to the deterioration of food quality. Enzymes present in animals, vegetables, and fruit promote chemical reactions before and after harvest, such as ripening. Freezing only slows the enzyme activity that takes place in foods. It does not halt them.
Proper packaging helps maintain quality and prevent freezer burn. It is safe to freeze meat or poultry directly in its original packaging, however this type of wrap is permeable to air and quality may diminish over time. For prolonged storage, overwrap these packages as you would any food for long-term storage. It is not necessary to rinse meat and poultry. Freeze unopened vacuum packages as is.
*If you notice that a package has accidentally been torn or has opened while food is in the freezer, the food is still safe to use; merely overwrap or rewrap it.*
Freezer burn does not make food unsafe, merely dry in spots. It appears as grayish-brown leathery spots and is caused by air coming in contact with the surface of the food. Cut freezer-burned portions away before feeding to your pet. Heavily freezer-burned foods may have to be discarded for quality reasons.
Color changes can occur in frozen foods. The bright red color of meat as purchased usually turns dark or pale brown depending on its variety. This may be due to lack of oxygen, freezer burn or abnormally long storage.
Freeze food as fast as possible to maintain its quality. Rapid freezing prevents undesirable large ice crystals from forming throughout the product because the molecules don’t have time to form into the characteristic six-sided snowflake. Slow freezing creates large, disruptive ice crystals. During thawing, they damage the cells and dissolve emulsions. This causes meat to “drip” and lose juiciness.
*Buddies uses their -25 °C Blast Freezer to rapidly freeze all products to ensure freshness and quality.*
Freezer Storage Time
Because freezing keeps food safe almost indefinitely, recommended storage times are for quality only. Always check for quality once thawed. First check the odor. Some foods will develop a rancid or off odor when frozen too long and should be discarded. Some may not look picture perfect or be of high enough quality to serve alone but may still be edible.
*Buddies will always stamp our products with a manufactured date before shipping out. This is to show the date the product was manufactured – not to be confused with an expiry date.*
Never thaw foods on any counter top or outside. There are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. It’s best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. Small items may defrost overnight; approximately one day for each 5 pounds of weight. For faster thawing, place food in a leak proof plastic bag and immerse it in cold water. (If the bag leaks, bacteria from the air or surrounding environment could be introduced into the food. Tissues can also
absorb water like a sponge, resulting in a watery product.) Check the water frequently to be sure it stays cold. Change the water every 30 minutes.
*Only use microwave defrost if you know how to use it properly. Microwaving can cook product. Buddies does not recommend using microwaves.*
Once food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through thawing. Freeze leftovers within 3-4 days. Do not refreeze any foods left outside the refrigerator longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.
Freezer Storage Chart (0 °F)
*Note: Freezer storage is for quality only. Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely.*
|Gravy, meat or poultry||2 to 3|
|Meat, uncooked ground||3 to 4|
|Poultry, uncooked whole||12|
|Poultry, uncooked parts||9|
|Poultry, uncooked giblets||3 to 4|
|Wild game, uncooked||8 to 12|