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Also see Article:  Defrosting Food Safely

Defrosting Frozen Foods Safely

Food safety experts recommend thawing foods in the refrigerator or the microwave oven, or putting the package in a water-tight plastic bag submerged in cold water and changing the water every 30 minutes. Gradual defrosting overnight in the refrigerator is best because it helps maintain quality.

When microwaving, follow package directions. Leave about 2 inches (about 5 centimeters) between the food and the inside surface of the microwave to allow heat to circulate. Smaller items will defrost more evenly than larger pieces of food. Foods defrosted in the microwave oven should be cooked immediately after thawing.

Do not thaw meat, poultry and fish products on the counter or in the sink without cold water; bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature.

(Compiled from the FDA Consumer  - latest revision, July 2002)

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