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Can You Get Sick From Thawing Meat In Hot Water

Can You Get Sick From Thawing Meat In Hot Water? Answered

Last Updated on December 25, 2022 by Shari Mason

Thawing frozen meat is an important part of preparing meals. However, many people are unsure of the correct way to thaw their meat. 

One of the most common methods is to thaw meat in hot water, but is it safe? 

Our team will discuss whether or not you can get sick from thawing meat in hot water and the risks.

Can Thawing Meat In Hot Water Make You Sick?

thawing meat on a water

Yes. Thawing meat in hot water can make you sick. This is due to the potential for bacteria to grow rapidly as the meat is thawed in warm water. 

Bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria [1] can all be present in raw meat and cause food poisoning if consumed. 

When thawing meat in hot water, it is important to ensure that the water is changed frequently and the meat is cooked immediately after thawing. 

If the water is not changed frequently, bacteria can grow and multiply quickly, leading to an increased risk of food poisoning. 

Additionally, it is important to keep the meat submerged in the water at all times and to thaw it as quickly as possible; allowing the meat to sit out in warm water for an extended period can provide ideal conditions for bacteria to grow. 

Ultimately, it is safest to thaw meat in the refrigerator or cold water.

Why Shouldn’t You Defrost In Hot Water?

Defrosting food in hot water is not recommended as it can cause bacteria to grow quickly. The warm water can cause the outside of the food to thaw before the inside, creating an ideal temperature for bacteria to grow. 

“I enjoy my food. I like to grill; I do that a lot. I like meat and have big dinners – steak, red meat splurges, prime cuts. “

– Taylor Kinney, American Actor

Also, leaving food at room temperature, such as when defrosting hot water, is not a safe way to thaw food. 

Defrosting food [2] in hot water can also cause the food to become soggy and unappetizing and reduce the flavor’s quality.

What Happens If You Defrost Meat Too Quickly?

If you defrost meat too quickly, it can cause the outside of the meat to reach a warm enough temperature for bacteria to grow.

This can lead to food-borne illnesses if the meat is not cooked thoroughly. 

Additionally, the quick thawing process can cause muscle fibers to break down, resulting in moisture and flavor loss. 

Therefore, it is best to thaw meat slowly and safely using the refrigerator, cold water, or microwave when necessary.

Does Meat Thaw Faster In Cold Water Or Hot Water?

Meat thaws faster in cold water than in hot water because cold water has a greater ability to transfer heat than hot water.

Cold water will cause the temperature of the meat to change more quickly than hot water. 

Additionally, cold water thaws the meat more evenly than hot water, which can cause uneven temperatures and potentially lead to food-borne illnesses.

Why Should You Change Water When Defrosting Meat?

defrosting meat on a running water

Changing the water when defrosting meat is important to ensure that the meat is cooked safely and that any bacteria on the meat is destroyed. 

This is because as the meat is thawing, it releases juices that may contain bacteria. If the water isn’t changed regularly, this bacteria can spread to other foods and potentially cause food poisoning. 

Additionally, changing the water helps to keep the meat at a safe temperature and prevents it from becoming too warm and bacteria from growing.

Risks Of Thawing Meat In Hot Water

  1. Bacterial Growth: Thawing meat in hot water can promote the growth of bacteria, leading to food-borne illnesses. 
  2. Unsafe Temperature: Hot water may not be able to thaw the meat evenly, leaving some parts of the meat at an unsafe temperature. 
  3. Nutrient Loss: Thawing meat in hot water can cause it to lose some nutrients, resulting in a less nutritious meal. 
  4. Unpleasant Texture: Hot water can also cause the meat to become mushy and unappetizing.

FAQs

Can you thaw meat in a cooler?

Yes, you can thaw meat in a cooler. However, you must ensure that the cooler is kept at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and the meat must be in a sealed, leak-proof container. 

The meat should be used within two hours of thawing, and any juices or melted ice should be discarded.

Can you thaw shrimp in hot water?

No, it would be best not to thaw shrimp in hot water. Hot water can start to cook the shrimp, making them tough and less flavorful.

The best way to thaw shrimp is to place them in a bowl of cold water and let them sit for 10 to 20 minutes.

How long should you thaw meat?

You should thaw meat in a refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, it is not recommended to thaw meat in hot water, as it increases the likelihood of bacteria growth and can make you sick. 

It is best to thaw meat in the refrigerator or microwave, or cold water. 

When thawing meat, following the proper food safety guidelines is essential to ensure that the food you consume is safe and healthy.

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/index.html
  2. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/big-thaw-safe-defrosting-methods
Shari Mason

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