Q.: Can you refreeze shrimp that has been previously frozen? I purchased it frozen, already cooked, thawed some for a party, and did not use it all. Can I put it back in the freezer?
— M.G., Tallmadge
A.: In general, you can refreeze foods, but you may find that an item like shrimp is mushy and not very enjoyable to eat after being frozen and thawed twice. Also, generally speaking, it is best to refreeze foods that were thawed in the refrigerator and stayed in the refrigerator.
For example, if you thaw a pound of ground beef in the refrigerator, but decide you won't be using it after all, it is fine to simply put it back into the freezer. In the case of beef, you may find it will have dried out after its second thaw due to juices lost in the thawing process, and it may not produce the juiciest of burgers afterward.
However, in your case, you need to be careful that the shrimp was properly handled during its thaw time. Since the shrimp was used for a party and was sitting out for a period of time with guests milling over it, I would advise against saving it beyond a few days as a leftover in the refrigerator.
Here is the official line from the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service: ''If raw or cooked food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking or heating, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through defrosting. After cooking raw foods which were previously frozen, it is safe to freeze the cooked foods. And if previously cooked foods are thawed in the refrigerator, you may refreeze the unused portion. If you purchase previously frozen meat, poultry or fish at a retail store, you can refreeze if it has been handled properly.''
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