Health & Wellbeing

A chicken stands watch h in a coop at the Quill’s End Farm, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, in Penobscot, Maine. A ballot question in will give Maine voters a chance to decide on a first-in-the-nation “right to food amendment.”AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Australians confused if they can re-freeze their favourite meat

Food Safety Week (13-18 November 2021) was the perfect time to answer the most common question that brings people to the Australian Chicken Meat Federation’s website – ‘Is it safe to re-freeze chicken?’.

Dr Vivien Kite, Executive Director of the ACMF, sets the record straight. “Yes, you can re-freeze chicken. Just make sure it was properly defrosted in the fridge in the first place, and it hasn’t been longer than 24 hours since you defrosted it.”

New research conducted by the Food Safety Information Council (FSIC) has revealed that 76% of Australians have got this fact wrong, incorrectly thinking that it’s not safe to refreeze chicken that has been defrosted in the fridge. The myth is more common among older Australians, with 88% of those over 65 thinking the practice is unsafe, compared with 58% of 18 to 24 year-olds.

Dr Kite says, “The myth that it is not safe to re-freeze chicken meat that has been defrosted in the fridge is a mix between two issues – quality and safety. While it is safe to put chicken that has been defrosted below five degrees back into the freezer, the quality of the meat may deteriorate after thawing and refreezing. The reduction in quality can be caused by several things, such as the formation of ice crystals in the cells of the meat that can break down the meat so that it no longer looks as good as it did when it was bought. This affects the look of the chicken meat much more than the taste, and definitely does not affect the safety of the chicken, so the good news is that you don’t have to waste it – it’s still fine to cook for dinner.”

When defrosting chicken meat, it is very important that it is defrosted in the fridge, below 5 degrees, and it is best to store defrosting meat on the lowest shelf in the fridge. Dr Kite explains, “If you defrost your chicken meat on the kitchen bench, and then re-freeze it, you’ll be storing any bacteria that may have multiplied during thawing at room temperature, and these can start growing again next time you defrost it!

“And the more bacteria that are present, the greater the risk that someone might get sick. Thorough cooking will destroy the bacteria though, so it is important to always ensure that chicken meat is cooked through, and that raw meat doesn’t come into contact with anything already cooked or that will be eaten raw (like your salad ingredients),” said Dr Kite.

Concerningly, 67% of 18 to 24 year-olds think it is fine to refreeze chicken that has been defrosted on the bench. Given that chicken is Australia’s favourite meat, this is a little worrying.

For more chicken and food safety advice, visit the ACMF’s website and Food Safety Information Council. For more myth-busting about chicken meat production in Australia visit


About the Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF)

The Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF) is the national, peak organisation for those involved in the chicken meat industry in Australia, including chicken farmers and chicken meat processors.

Its main aim is to represent the interests of the industry in a wide range of matters including animal health, biosecurity, food standards, food safety, international trade, quarantine, and animal welfare.

One of the ACMF’s most important roles is to also provide information to the public about the Australian chicken meat industry, how it operates and about its products. This includes the importance of healthy eating, and the role chicken meat can play as a key nutritional element of today’s modern diet and as an integral part of a healthy and sustainable diet for the future.

Follow ACMF on Twitter – @ACMFchicken and LinkedIn – acmfchicken