Many foods taken from the freezer can be cooked immediately but poultry, joints of meat and other large items must be completely thawed before cooking. The manufactures instructions should always be followed. If food is not completely thawed, ice is likely to be present at the centre and the heat from subsequent cooking will be used to melt the ice and not to raise the internal temperature above that required to destroy pathogens. In these situations the traditional cooking time should be extended and it is essential to check that a core temperature of 75°C has been achieved. Thawing at room temperatures (25°C to 30°C) may result in the multiplication of bacteria on the warm surface of food, whilst the centre remains frozen. If food is thawed in a refrigerator it must be separated from other food and adequate time allowed to thaw completely. A 10kg turkey will take several days to thaw and the surfaces of the refrigerator, and high-risk food, may become contaminated with thawed liquid containing pathogenic bacteria. Thawing of frozen poultry is best carried out in thawing cabinet or at 10°C to 15°C in a well-ventilated area entirely separate from other foods. Cold running water may be used but care must be taken to avoid contamination of the sink and surrounding surfaces. Thawed food which is not required for immediate use, should be marked with a new date code and stored under refrigeration.
Rules for handling frozen poultry