Food Safety Issues/Re freezing thawed duck


I thawed a frozen duck in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, but did not use it. Can I safely re freeze it for future use?  It was never removed from the refrigerator which is a backup and is opened infrequently. Thanks.

Hi Louise,

I'm sorry for takin so long in answering your question.  

The general rule of thumb for poultry products that have been in the refrigerator fully defrosted for more than 3 days is that they should be cooked and then frozen. When you bring a fresh poultry product home from the grocery store (not frozen) it is recommended to cook or freeze it within 3 days.  The same guidelines are recommended for defrosted poultry -- use within 3 days of defrost.

With this information it is probable that your duck was fully defrosted 2-3 days after placing it in the refrigerator.  This would mean that the duck could be safely refrozen IF it was promptly frozen when you sent me the question.  

So...if you froze the duck after 4-5 days in the refrigerator, then it is considered safe to freeze and use at a later date.  Please be aware that food that is defrosted and then refrozen will probably lose quality (change in taste, texture or appearance) but this is not unsafe -- just not as appetizing as a food that has not gone through the defrosted/freezing cycle.

Happy New Year!


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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