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I made a sandwich two days ago that consists of white bread and canned tuna. I put it in my freezer immediately after making it and it stayed there until today. This morning I took it to work, planning to eat it for lunch, but am now going out for lunch instead. I'd rather not waste the sandwich, so is it safe to refreeze it until tomorrow? It has been out of the freezer for 5 hours and sitting in my desk drawer.

marked as duplicate by rumtscho Apr 6 '16 at 11:15

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  • It doesn't matter if it is a tuna sandwich or a piece of raw meat, food safety rules are consistent enough to apply to both. Closing as a duplicate of our standard refreezing question. There are others on refreezing, you can see them in the sidebar. – rumtscho Apr 6 '16 at 11:16
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The larger issue is the storage time that the sandwich has already been subjected to. 5 hours at room temperature is enough time for at least some of the tuna to spend significant time in the "danger zone" (the temperature range from 40 to 140 degrees F where bacteria grow most quickly).

At this point I would not consider the sandwich safe, regardless whether you refreeze it. Refreezing will not render it safe again and I would recommend tossing it.

  • I do that everyday, haha. I leave for work quite early in the morning and don't take lunch until around 1PM. Never caused me a problem (that I'm aware of), but I don't doubt what you say is true! – user44808 Apr 6 '16 at 3:40
  • @lilligantex Frankly then, you've gotten lucky. At minimum it's a good idea to get a reusable cold storage bag that will keep your food colder for longer so that it doesn't reach risky temperatures. – logophobe Apr 6 '16 at 12:25
  • Lucky for over a year! Haha. But noted. Thanks! :) – user44808 Apr 6 '16 at 22:29
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When you freeze anything that contains moisture, freezing produces ice crystals that rupture cell walls; this damage speeds up any spoilage that might begin. The more often you freeze a food, the more damage is done. I would advise against re-freezing anything you plan to eat without cooking, simply out of concern over not knowing how quickly any spoilage will progress as it thaws.

  • Thank you. Would placing it in the refrigerator rather than the freezer be any better? – user44808 Apr 6 '16 at 2:51
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    Placing it in the fridge would be better, simply because the fridge wouldn't freeze the sandwich, but I would still have misgivings about the sandwich. It did, after all, spend significant time in a warm environment after being frozen. While I am a big fan of being frugal and not being unnecessarily wasteful, I am not a big fan of food poisoning. I would go with being necessarily wasteful and getting rid of the sandwich. – Shalryn Apr 10 '16 at 15:15