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I bought a huge bag of pork bones, pork spare ribs and chicken bones. To save time and space I combined them all and separated them into 4 bags and chucked them in the freezer. Now i'm not so sure about having the raw pork and raw chicken touching each other in the bags and when I defrost them in the fridge, they would be touching each other for another 10 hours in a less-than-freezing temperature.

Is this safe?

(I am planning to use each bag at a time for making bone broth- boiled for up to 4 hours)

  • Anything bad present on either meat will be killed (to an edible degree) when cooked and also when frozen, so there is no issue here. However, I think food safety answers always need to have the notice: If in doubt, throw it out! – Ming Nov 17 '14 at 6:02
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    What are you expecting to happen? Generally if the meat is all food grade, was handled correctly at the butcher, and you handle and cook it correctly, nothing bad will happen :-) – TFD Nov 17 '14 at 9:50
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    If in doubt throw it out surely does not apply here. Everything is safe, I can't even see why the thought entered the op's mind in the first place. Also I think you'll find freezing does not kill bacteria but puts it into hibernation, to a degree. – Doug Nov 17 '14 at 10:01
  • Also regarding defrosting in the fridge, it is the recommended way due to the fact in a working fridge temperatures should never re-enter the "danger zone" – Doug Nov 17 '14 at 10:03
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Yes, that's fine. You're going to cook everything to a much higher temp than the minimum safe temperature for the meat that requires the highest temperature. That's the key, and your plans are far beyond what is minimally required for safety.

  • If you think about it, if you need to kill possible pathogens in one meat to a certain temp, and the pathogens in another meat to a different temp ... that just means that you have to cook them both to whatever temperature is now higher. If you're going to be taking it near boiling, as you would for soup, you're fine. – Joe Nov 17 '14 at 13:43
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If you hold to your plan to defrost these products in your refrigerator, be sure to place them toward the back of the refrigerator where temperatures are generally cooler, especially if the refrigerator door is opened frequently throughout the day.

As can be seen here, according to the FDA pork products (classed under fresh meat) should not be stored in the refrigerator for longer than five days, while chicken products (classed under fresh poulty) should not be stored longer than two days. (By refrigeration they mean an eight degree temperature range, greater than 32°F and less than 41°F.) Since chicken, in your case, is the limiting factor, you should plan to not exceed the recommended two day limit.

Here, also from the FDA, we find a strong recommendation toward use of a refrigerator thermometer. They also provide some excellent tips on the dos and don'ts of thawing, which includes the following important remark.

Because bacteria can multiply so rapidly in unrefrigerated food, it's simply unsafe to let food thaw at room temperature. If left unrefrigerated, some organisms can create toxins that will survive the cooking process even if the food is cooked to temperatures that kill the bacteria themselves.

Be sure however to extrapolate from this that the same principle applies to overly refrigerated food that applies to unrefrigerated food. (Otherwise the stated limits would have no grounding or value, i.e. 5 days for pork or 2 days for chicken.)

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