Does the Expiration Date for a Food "Reset" When I Freeze It?

Does the Expiration Date for a Food "Reset" When I Freeze It?

Anjali Prasertong
Sep 28, 2012

Q: Does the expiration date of food "reset" after it is frozen? For example, I bake a large ham on Sunday and freeze the bone on Friday. When it is thawed and used in soup or stew, is the ham still considered to be 5 days old and should the soup/stew be eaten very quickly?

Would it be better to freeze the bone immediately?

Sent by Linda

Editor: Linda, freezing to 0°F does inactivate any bacteria or molds on your food, but once the food is thawed, they become active again. To be safe, assume that storing food in the freezer is like hitting the "pause" button on its shelf life, not rewinding it completely.

Here's more helpful information on freezer safety:

Freezing and Food Safety at the USDA

Readers, do you have any tips or information on safely freezing foods?

Related: Freezer Savvy: The Best Way to Freeze (and Thaw!) Meat

(Image: Faith Durand)

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