How to freeze and thaw food safely?

Updated on: Aucune révision

There are various possible techniques for adequately freezing and thawing food in order to avoid the risk of food poisoning.


  • Set the freezer at a temperature of -18 ° C (0 ° F).
  • Cool down food in the refrigerator before freezing.
  • Freeze food in small portions and avoid overloading the freezer which would prevent air from circulating between the items.
  • Identify portions with the freezing date. The rule of “first frozen, first eaten” must be applied (table on the shelf life of frozen food) (French only).


There are three safe ways to defrost food:

  • It is possible to thaw the food directly during cooking,
  • It is possible to refrigerate meat or cooked food in a dish with high edges (to prevent leakage of the liquid produced during thawing) and on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator,
  • It is possible to microwave the food, selecting the “defrost” option. In this case, however, the food must be cooked immediately after thawing.

Note: Thawing under cold water is considered an adequate but less secure method than those mentioned above. The water should be changed every 30 minutes so it is always cold and not within the “danger zone” temperature.


Meat, poultry, fish and seafood as well as dishes containing them must be kept at a temperature where bacteria growth is under control. Do not leave food in the “danger zone” temperature, which is between 4 ° C (40 ° F) and 60 ° C (140 ° F), to reduce the risk of getting sick. In particular, avoid leaving these foods at room temperature.


Brown, Amy.(2004).

Gouvernement du Canada (2013). Guide sur la salubrité des aliments pour les enfants de cinq ans et moins.

Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation (MAPAQ). (2012). Thermoguide – Frais c’est meilleur!

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).(2013). Food Safety and Inspection Service.



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