Can Freezer Burn Make You Sick?

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If you have frozen something, whether it was your favorite tub of ice-cream or some leftovers from a meal you cooked, there is always the risk of freezer burn.

Perhaps you have been lucky enough to not have experienced freezer burn before. Or, maybe you know the taste all too well. It is not a pleasant one. 

Once you have tasted freezer burn, you will be able to recognize it again, regardless of the type of food you are eating.

As freezer burn alters the food that you have frozen, you may be worried about whether or not it will make you sick.

It is only natural to wonder this when you take into consideration that freezer burn alters the overall taste and texture of food.

In this article, we will be delving deeper into this subject. We will be discussing whether or not freezer burn will make you sick and why freezer burn occurs.

In addition to this, we will be providing you with a few tips on how to help prevent freezer burn from occurring.

What Is Freezer Burn?

Freezer burn is caused by oxidation and dehydration. It usually occurs when food has not been correctly covered when placed in the freezer.

If the food has not been sufficiently covered, this will cause air to reach the food. When the air reaches the food, the oxidation and dehydration processes begin. 

Freezer burn is something that will happen to all types of food over time. The longer something is kept in the freezer, the more likely it is for the food to lose some of its initial moisture.

Correctly sealing food will help to prevent moisture from escaping a lot better than something that is merely placed in the freezer.

It is fairly easy to spot when food has become freezer burnt. The type of changes can be slightly different depending on the food that has been frozen.

For example, beef tends to turn a darker brown. It may not become fully brown, but rather it may have a larger brown spot where the freezer burn has occurred.

When looking at chicken, chicken bones can appear darker and parts of the chicken may turn a darker pink if it was frozen raw. The color change is caused by exposure to the air. 

Other signs of freezer burn include ice crystals. These are commonly found in freezer burnt ice cream. Rather than the ice cream tasting smooth and creamy, it is likely to taste crunchier and more textured.

If you notice that your food is heavily covered in ice crystals, it is likely a victim of freezer burn. These ice crystals can change the overall taste and texture of your food significantly.

While it still may taste okay, the food is unlikely to taste as nice as it did before it was frozen. 

Can Freezer Burn Make You Sick?

Now that you know what freezer burn is and the causes of it, it is natural to wonder if it can make you sick.

When severe freezer burn occurs it can change the taste and texture of food quite significantly.

While it will still be edible, it may not taste right. If you have recently eaten food that has been freezer burnt, you cannot get ill from it.

While severely freezer burnt food is not pleasant, it is safe to consume. In the majority of cases, the food will just have changed color or consistency slightly. Sometimes you may not be able to taste the freezer burn.

However, if the taste is particularly strong, it may not be overly pleasant to eat. In these instances, it may be best to throw the food away rather than eating food that has changed in texture completely.

As a rule of thumb, the less time food has spent in the freezer, the better. Typically food can be frozen for around three to six months, however, this will change depending on the food frozen. 

We would always recommend eating food you have frozen fairly quickly. This will allow it to taste more appealing. The longer something is placed in the freezer, the lower quality it will become. 

How To Prevent Freezer Burn

Is freezer burn something that is consistently happening to the food you are freezing? It can be so frustrating and understandably something that you will want to avoid. 

While food kept in the freezer for a very long time will eventually fall victim to freezer burn, there are a few things you can do to help prevent this from happening in the future. 

Correctly Storing Your Freezer Food

Correctly storing your food in the freezer is essential. Regardless of what you are freezing, you should always place it in either a sealable freezer bag or an airtight container. 

Once your food has been safely stored in a container or bag you should ensure as much air has been removed as possible. The aim is to prevent moisture from escaping the food and limit the oxygen reaching it. 

In addition to this, we would recommend placing the date you froze the food onto the packaging. This will help you to keep track of when you need to consume the food. 

Freezer Problems

If you are correctly storing your food and freezer burn is still proving to be a problem, there may be an issue with your freezer.  

If your freezer is not working efficiently this can cause freezer burn along with a whole host of other problems, such as food defrosting.

We would recommend either having your freezer checked by a professional or replace it if it is faulty.


Freezer burn cannot make you sick, but it can cause foods to change in color, flavor, and texture. While this may not always be an issue, in some cases, it can cause the food to taste inedible.

Given this, it is important to store your freezer food correctly. By doing this you will help to prevent freezer burn from occurring again in the future.

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