Food Safety Issues/Thawed salmon


HELP!! I left a 5kg carton for 200g individually wrapped Salmon portions in my car from 2.30pm to 11pm.

80% of the salmon still were sort of frozen and had ice on them still. And the other 20% were frozen in the very middle but thawed on the outsides with ice on them.

Is it fine to just chuck them all back in the freezer? Also today was very rainy and overcast. I would say max temp today was 22 degrees



Hi Ellie,

I assume since you are in Australia and it's summer down your way, 22 degrees was in celcius - 71 degrees F.  

The general rule of thumb is if food that is supposed to kept cold to remain safe are in the Danger Zone -- 5 to 57 degrees C -- for more than 2 hours then they can become unsafe to consume.

However, if these salmon portions were in a freezer that stopped working, the recommendation is that if ice crystals are still present in the food then the food can be safely refrozen.  Of course, this recommendation is based upon the idea that the interior of the freezer is slowly getting warmer whereas your salmon was in a 22 degree atmosphere the entire time.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive way to tell if your salmon is still safe to consume without laboratory testing.  All we do know is that foods that are supposed to be kept cold for safety, can support the growth of harmful bacteria which can not be detected by sight, smell or taste. And some of these bacteria have the ability of producing a waste product that is not destroyed by cooking.  This is why simply refreezing and then cooking temperature abused foods does not guarantee their safety. Thus the general recommendation of not cooking or consuming foods that have been temperature abused.



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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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