I've read that allowing frozen food to defrost in the fridge or under running water is generally a good idea (compared to leaving it out on the worktop). I'm aware there are some situations where it's not ideal.

As some foods defrost, they release a liquid. My own research suggests this could be full of bad bacteria etc, and the food can spoil.

In my situation, I have some frozen shellfish. This includes crab claw, squid, cuttlefish and prawns. They are all on 1 dinner plate, in my fridge and I've now considered there are 2 problems, which I can summarise as:

They will soon be sitting in each others water!

I have 2 questions, which are relevant to the title:

  1. As the shellfish will be cooked together, is there are any risk of contamination from the defrosted liquid?

  2. Is my technique (or lack of) of letting them defrost on a plate incorrect? For example, should I be defrosting in a colendar with a bowl underneath?

  • I guess there is a risk of spoiling, if you forget the food and let it sit at room temperature for a long time.
    – danuker
    Commented Oct 24, 2021 at 12:17

3 Answers 3


If this is all kept at refrigerator temperatures, then cooked, your health risk is extremely low. However, there is a better method, which you suggest. Place your seafood/shellfish in a colander or strainer. Place that over a container so that the melting liquid can drain off, and so that the product will not be sitting in the liquid. The same set up can be used for fresh fish, and is common in seafood markets. With non-frozen, the seafood can be packed with ice to keep it as cold as possible. Again, with the set-up I describe, the melting ice will be captured below the product.


This same liquid was contained within the food itself. Some of that liquid does not drip out of the food and will be cooked. There is no danger here.


Put your food on a a tray that has hole in it so that the liquid fall to the bottom .

You can use a baking/grill rack with a pan under it.

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