What Do Ice Crystals in Meat Signify? Are They Health Hazardous? [A Question From Everydays’ Life]
Frozen food is indeed a blessing for a variety of people who are unable to cook fresh food or cannot dine out daily. College students, bachelors, and many other individuals who live out of the country or city for sake of education and career use frozen food for their living. World frozen food market analysis 2020 highlights the demand for frozen food by consumers. The frozen food industry is growing and consumption of the frozen product by people also increases accordingly.
The increasing demand for frozen food also raises some questions about the frozen products. People who used to freeze the meat at home for long-term use also experience ice crystals. People become more concerned to know about
- What do ice crystals in meat signify?
- Is it a sign of contamination?
- Is it safe to use frozen meat with ice crystals?
This article is very informative for people who used frozen food items. If you are one of them then follow must read it till the end.
Do Ice Crystals in Meat Called Freezer Burn?
Technically speaking yes. Freezer burn is the technical term. It is used to indicate the presence of ice crystals in meat. Don’t get confused with it. Freezer burn is as same and relevant to your question. Before proceeding further we must know how ice crystals in meat form?
Why are Ice Crystals Termed As “freezer burn”?
Freezer burn is a terminology used to indicate ice crystals. It is named so because ice crystals that are formed due to any reason cause dehydration of frozen food that is indicated as “ Burn”. This dehydration in frozen food is the actual reason behind the change in taste or flavor of the food. I hope now this term “ Freezer burn” makes some sense why it is used to indicate the formation of ice crystals.
How Ice Crystals in Meat Form?
Ice crystals in meat or frozen burn develop during the freezing process. As we know that there are some water molecules within the food. During the process of freezing air comes in contact with the food. This air along with water molecules causes the formation of ice crystals during the freezing process.
What Do Ice Crystals in Meat Signify?
It is so common to see ice crystals in meat. People misunderstand it as a sign of some harmful ingredients or meat deterioration. Therefore it is important to know what ice crystals in meat signify?
Ice crystals in meet signify that
- Water molecules in food become ice crystals
- Your food is frozen
- Your food was previously hydrated
- Your food has now lost its moisture
- Your freezer is too cold
Do Ice-crystals in frozen meat signify contamination?
Ice crystals are the result of a bunch of water molecules present in food and the air that comes in contact with it. Of course, the Ice crystals in frozen meat do not signify contamination.
There is also a need to understand that air having micro-organism is an enemy for meat, vegetables, and other food items. If you place your meat in the kitchen counter for a long duration before freezing then there is a chance of its contamination. Again saying that ice crystals don’t signify contamination but if air before freezing already contaminates your food then it will be another discussion.
To avoid this situation, try to freeze your food quickly. Also, try to cook it immediately after taking it out from the freezer without any length major delay.
Is It Safe to Use Frozen Meat With Ice Crystals?
Frozen food with ice crystals is safe for use. It doesn’t cause any illness if well cooked and free from any type of contamination. Ice crystals have nothing to do with making you sick. These ice crystals immediately disappear when food is being provided with temperature or cooked. There is no authentic reference that favors the use of frozen meat with ice crystals as health hazardous.
Ice crystals or frozen burns may affect the quality of food in terms of flavor and taste but it does not affect its safety. It simply means that you may feel a different taste of frozen food but it is safe for your health.
How to Prevent Ice Crystals in Frozen Meat?
Although it is quite common to experience ice crystals on frozen meat you can avoid it by taking the following preventive measures
Properly store the food:
When you place the food item in the freezer, its temperature is more than the freezer appliances. That’s why the condensation process leads to the formation of some tiny ice crystals. It can be avoided by storing food properly sealed and moisture-proof containers or wraps.
Avoid the frequent opening of freezer door:
The frequent opening of the freezer door, again and again, allows the entrance of warm air from outside. This warm air when comes in contact with cooler temperature turns into moisture. This moisture forms ice crystals on frozen food. It can be avoided by limiting the opening of the freezer door and its frequent opening must be avoided.
Avoid opening the freezer door for a long time:
Another reason for the formation of ice crystals is opening the freezer door for a long time. The only way to avoid this problem is to carefully check whether your freezer door is properly closed or not.
Check the door seal for any crack or gaps:
A crack or gap in the door seal allows the entrance of warm air from outside, ultimately leading to ice crystals. It is, therefore, necessary to check the door seals and fix them to avoid the formation of ice crystals on frozen meat.
Choose the closest frozen store:
It is a challenge to buy frozen food items and carry them home safely without too much exposure to the outer environment. It is necessary to choose the closest food store to your residential area to avoid this problem.
Wrapping Text :
It is so common to see ice crystals in meat. Ice crystals may develop during the freezing process or after it. It may be due to an appropriate way of freezing or impaired working of your freezer appliances. Ice crystals in frozen meat or frozen food items literally raise the question that what do ice crystals in meat signify? Good point is that it is safe to use without any risk of illness. Ice crystals can be prevented by taking above mentioned preventive measures.
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A student of Pharm D from University of Karachi. She has keen interest in all the attributes towards pharmacy especially community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy with an objective to make medications sound and safe. She loves to provide information about Pharmaceutical Analysis and Pharmacology in a best way so people with no medical background can understand.