We had a chest freezer filled with beef get disconnected from power for some period of time. Reconnected and refroze the meat. I don't know how long it was without power. Packets of hamburger were soft to the touch. I didn't think to check the temperature so I don't know if it was above 40 degrees but I suspect so.

Are there facilities that will do small batch food testing for pathogens for end consumers?

  • 2
    I'd assume food testing is more expensive than the food, unless you have lots of it and you know said lots have been at the same temperature (so that you get a good sample).
    – Robert
    Jun 8, 2015 at 3:08

1 Answer 1


I seriously doubt it. The expense and complexity of making sure there are NO pathogens in a random sample of food would be significant. And then that would be all you'd have; a statement that the tested sample had no pathogens, but who knows about the rest of the food.

Testing food in a manufacturing plant depends on the commonality of how the food has been treated; if no problems are found in the samples then you can presume no problems will be found in similarly-handled food. In your freezer, though, you may have different packagings done at different times, and when it warmed up, different parts certainly warmed to different temperatures. Finding out if one item is safe would have very little to do with whether the rest of the contents are safe.

There's also the liability of the tester; if they claimed they could tell you if your beef was safe, and then you got food poisoning, they'd be on the hook. I doubt they'd take the risk.

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