Food Safety Issues/refreezing thawed ham


I received a ham gift tis season that was supposedtobe shipped flash frozen and packed with "cold packs". It was deliveredto my office and staff put it in the freezer. When I opened the box, the pamphlet inside said there were cold packs, however there were none in my box. This ham is supposed to be precooked but I'm concerned that without any cold packs, the ham was already defrosted by the time it was delivered and put in the office freezer. Not only is refreezing an issue but it's impossible now to know if the ham ever reached a dangerous temperature. Last year the ham I received actually was warm/ spolied and we had to toss it. SHould I toss this one as well? I don't want to take a chance on sickening my guests. I am unsure if heating it would make it safe?

I'm sorry Kay but you are correct. If the ham reached temperatures above 40F for more than 4 hours it is at risk for contamination by bacteria that forms toxins that can't be removed by further cooking. There's a catch though. If the ham thawed out ice crystals will be evident in the packaging. When it thaws water will leach out of the ham. Upon refreezing the water will form ice crystals and you will see them inside the packaging. Maybe the manufacturer stopped putting cold packs inside the ham? I would call their consumer help line. Maybe their number is inside the package. Tell them what happened and see what they say. Good luck Kay. What a great question.

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Carl LaFrate


I can answer food safety questions relative to food processing, retail food and food salvage after a catastrophic event such as a hurricane, flood, ammonia leak or fire. Questions related to HACCP, Regulatory, GFSI, SQF, BRC, liability issues, contamination events, pest infestation, pest control methodology,food safety defense, pathogen prevention such as L. Monocytogenes control in food processing and retail, any subject related to food safety including at home issues.


30 years experience as a food safety consultant working for the top food processors, food retailers and insurance companies that write liability policies related to food processing, storage and distribution. My firm employees 6 full time food safety auditors. I work for top law firms throughout the USA and am a staff consultant for Douglas Peterson and Associates, one of the top forensic engineering firms in the world. I also work with Risk Solutions International, a global leader in risk management.

New York State Association for Food Protection, past president, executive board Central Atlantic States Association of Food and Drug Officials

Progressive Grocer Magazine Smart Money Magazine Private Label Buyer Magazine Supermarket News Natural Foods Merchandiser Magazine Food Service Director Magazine NYS Association for Food Protection Annual Report NYS Association for Food Protection Newsletter

Syracuse University, Microbiology/Biology NYS College of Environmental Sciences, Plant and Environmental Biology Cornell University, Food and Dairy Processing

Awards and Honors
Wm. Hickey Award (2006), NYS Association for Food Protection, for contributions in the field of food safety and sanitation New York State Integrated Pest Management Award (2007), NYS Assoc. for Food Protection, for contributions in the filed of integrated pest management.

Past/Present Clients
Pillsbury, Agri-Mark, Associated Grocers, Beatrice Foods, Cargill, Southern Cold Storage, Quaker, Ben & Jerry’s, Delverde Pasta (Italy), New York Bakery, Cabot Cheese, Hazelwood Farms, General Mills, Price Chopper Supermarkets, P&C Supermarkets, Great American Supermarkets, Tops Markets, Big M Supermarkets, Big Bear Supermarkets, Frito-Lay Distribution Centers, IBP, Excell, Eckerd Drugs, Rite Aid Drug Stores, Fay’s Drugs, Carl’s Drugs, AWI Wholesale Food Distribution, McLane Food Distributors, Golub Food Distribution, many supermarket chains (many include large scale specialty food service operations), Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Darden Foods (Red Lobster, Olive Garden), LSG Skychefs (Germany, US), Glen Mills Schools, Cornell University, Crider Poultry, Caesar’s Palace, The Oneida Indian Nation, Taylor Meat Packing, UCB Packaging Films

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