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I accidentally left my groceries out on the counter for an hour. Some frozen fish and frozen fruits and vegetables. Are they still good? Especially the fish?

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It's all still safe, given that it was only an hour. Even very perishable food like fish and meat is safe for 2-4 hours in the danger zone (above 40F/5C), so even if it had fully thawed it'd be okay. If it was all still clearly frozen on the surface, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

If some of it was thawed on the surface, it's still okay, but note that the time limit in the danger zone is cumulative. So in that case, when you do use it, I'd be sure to avoid letting it sit out thawed before cooking, or after cooking. But it would all still be fine.

All you really have to worry about here is quality. If things thawed significantly, and then you refreeze them, the texture will suffer. Things are likely to get mushier, especially vegetables. They'll still be safe, just not as good. So if anything seems to have thawed, I'd try to use it immediately instead of refreezing.

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If every thing is still cold you should be ok. If the fish is still a little frozen you can go ahead and put it in the freezer. If it is completely thawed I would eat it with in a couple of days.

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you don't say how frozen/defrosted the fish is. Here is a guide to shelf life which could help. Your fruits will, if defrosted and then re-frozen be a bit more mushy and possibly watery when defrosted again.

Your fish however is another matter, if it has de-frosted do not re-freeze. Here is a statement from the above site. 'Finally, if you thawed the fish fillets on the counter or in hot water, you shouldn’t eat them at all. The USDA cautions that it’s dangerous to eat any fish that’s been thawed under those two methods, as the outer layer of the food would have been allowed to sit between the bacteria-breeding temperatures of 40° F and 140° F for far too long to be safe.' Also 'Refreezing is not an option, though, if the fish wasn’t thawed in the refrigerator to begin with.'.


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During an ice storm, in 2009, we had no electricity for 2 weeks. A friend made it to my house to run a generator for me, to keep my frozen foods from going bad, and I wondered if it was all OK. I was told by the local farm bureau and food safety people that if it is still COLD, but thawed, it can be refrozen. Look closely for any ice still left- any signs of still being partially frozen. As said above, texture may be not prime, but it is food safety to be concerned about. If not still very cold, cook immediately, or throw away. Any foods such as fish or meats should then be cooked well done, to add another measure of safety.

I cooked some of my frozen foods in my wood furnace, threw a little away, but most made it.

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