What happens to bacteria when food is frozen?

A freezer is a must-have in all kitchen settings, whether domestic or professional. When food is frozen it won’t deteriorate, and most importantly, bacteria won’t grow in it. That said, it is important to freeze foods at the correct time and in the right conditions. Sealed, pre-packaged food can be put in the freezer up until the use-by date and not a moment later. All other foods like leftovers should be frozen as soon as possible – waiting for them to cool first.

What happens to bacteria when food is frozen?

Usually, domestic freezers have a temperature of -18°C. This freezing temperature causes a delay to the chemical reaction within foods which in turn pauses the growth of any bacteria present. That said, the bacteria within the food are still alive, but they cannot develop further, or produce any toxins.

Why is it important to defrost food correctly?

When you take your food out of the freezer, it’s important to defrost it safely before cooking or eating it – the bacteria is still present and you need to be careful. Ideally, frozen foods should be defrosted in the fridge to keep temperatures consistent and safe. This isn’t always possible and a microwave on the defrost setting can be used instead. When defrosted food must be cooked thoroughly for it to be safe for consumption. Please always check the guidance on food packaging to ensure the food is defrosted properly.

How to learn more about Food Hygiene & Safety

“What happens to bacteria when food is frozen?” is a common question people ask when they care about food hygiene and safety. To gain a more comprehensive, fundamental level of knowledge sign up to our Level One Food Hygiene and Safety Course

If you prepare or serve food professionally then you would need the more advanced Level two food hygiene and safety course instead.

Each of these courses are available for £10 and are independently accredited by The CPD Group to ensure that they are up to date with the latest UK food safety guidelines and best practices. The courses include a short exam. Each course takes just 1 – 2 hours to complete.