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Can you freeze food on its expiration date? A virologist’s response

  • April 15, 2024
  • 6
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When we don’t have time to cook, our fridge is too full or we don’t eat regularly at home, we often freeze food at the last minute, sometimes even on its due date. expiry date, so as not to waste it. Does this pose a health risk? A virologist answered this question on social networks.

Freezing is an effective preservation method that allows you to keep products for several weeks that would be consumed in a few days if they were simply stored in the refrigerator. Thus, it extends the lifespan of food and helps limit the waste. As had previously explained virologist Océane Sorel to Current wife, “Freezing allows bacteria to go into deep sleep”. A process that immerses the food at -18°C in less than 24 hours. Furthermore, according to the virologist, when we put the food back “in an ideal temperature zone, bacteria multiply, thereby increasing the risk food poisoning”. In a recent video posted on Instagram, the virologist, also known as @thefrenchvirologist, spoke about freezing food on its expiration date.

Freezing food on its expiration date: good or bad idea?

In her video, the virologist explains that you can freeze food on the exact day it should have expired, but she still specifies that this is really not ideal. Indeed, according to her, “freezing is like pressing the pause button on the bacteria remote control.” This stops them in their tracks, but once the food is thawed, the bacteria will multiply again, she says. It is therefore essential not to leave room for bacteria before freezing the product, indicates the specialist. She therefore advises freezing food when returning from shopping, rather than waiting until the last moment. An opinion shared by the National Food Safety Agency (ANSES) which considers that it is preferable “to anticipate the freezing of food as soon as it is purchased or prepared, and not at the end of expiration date (DLC). Because if domestic freezing at -18°C stops bacterial multiplication, most microorganisms survive freezing.”

How to defrost food? Good reflexes to know

There are very specific actions to take when you want to defrost food, ANSES points out. First of all, defrosting must be done in the refrigerator, in the microwave oven in the defrost position or quickly by cooking or reheating. Food should therefore not be defrosted at room temperature, because as explained it Océane Sorel to Current wifewhen you put it at room temperature, the food will tend to heat up very quickly on the surface and therefore return to temperature zones which are ideal for microbial bacterial growth”. This therefore poses a risk of food poisoning. In addition, ANSES reminds that it is recommended to consume thawed foods quickly (no more than three days) but also not to freeze them again.

Additional source:

  • Use-by date (DLC) and minimum durability date (DDM) – Anses

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Oceane Letouze