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I have just discovered that my freezer has a significant amount of ice coating.

Is it safe to put meals in there for storage?

If so, what would be the recommended way for defrosting those meals?

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    Is your freezer supposed to be "frost free" or is it one of the older models? The old ones can build up quite a bit of frost before safety requires you to defrost them. If yours is "frost free", then it's busted and should be fixed. Aug 16 '20 at 1:15
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In regards of food safety the ice layer should not do any harm. But be aware that the ice layer is working as an insulater and thus increases the amount of electricity consumed by the freezer. So it´s advisable to remove it from time to time for this reason alone. For details see: here and here.

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If you have a newer freezer that is "frost free" as Wayfaring Stranger mentioned you should get your freezer repaired or replaced. From personal experience this can happen over time even with a frost free freezer, the important part is that it's the right temperature.

As far as safety, the FDA states pretty clearly that freezers must be at or below 0F. You can get a thermometer pretty cheaply to test this out. I would do this immediately and before storing any food in your freezer.

As far as methods to defrost food, there are plenty of other posts on that on this site.

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