Safe Methods for Thawing Food
Thawing food is a critical step in food preparation in commercial establishments. If done improper, the food can become contaminated. I still hear where people thaw meats on the counter, which is a sure recipe for a food borne illness risk. According to the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, here are the four safe methods for thawing food that are used in commercial establishments:
Refrigeration: Thawing food in a refrigerator is the safest method. Make sure the refrigerator is set at 41 degrees F or lower, until thawed. Make sure to place food in a container to capture any liquid that will be released. Also key is to place the frozen food below the other foods in storage, especially ready to eat items.
Cold Water: Place frozen food into a container and place under running, potable water at 70 degree F or lower. Make sure the food product is covered and submerged with running water until thawed. Running water ensures that loose particles will run over the edge of the container.
Microwave: Only use this method if the food will be immediately cooked after thawing. Remember that food needs to be stirred or turned in order to prevent uneven heat/temperature distribution.
Cooking: Cook the food which allows the item to thaw during the process. Just make sure to know the proper temperature to cook the food!