Food Safety Issues/thawing prime rib


My freezer was left open at some point during the night.  A 6 pound prime rib was in there.    It has been completely out of the freezer for about 3 hours now because my husband thought it was ruined.   It still feels frozen to the touch.  Can I thaw it the rest of the way and cook it with in the next 24 hours?

Dear Teresa,

As long as the roast was still frozen and contained ice crystals it is safe to either put back into the freezer or defrost (in the refrigerator) and cook.  You don't have to do it within 24 hours but within 2 days of complete defrost.

Merry Christmas!


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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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