Food safety question re frozen chicken backs in slow cooker

Just got a slow cooker- yay. I usually use frozen chicken parts to make stock, so I did the same when I attempted my first chicken stock in the slow cooker. My mom flipped out about the slow rise to a safe temp and insists that the stock will be bacteria-ridden. Any thoughts? And if it is bacteria-ridden, if I boil it for a few minutes will it be okay or should I toss it? HELP!

  • Posted by: JosieD
  • January 16, 2015
  • 906 views
  • 3 Comments

3 Comments

Greenstuff January 17, 2015
So many food safety questions on the hot line, I really wish that Food52 had a resident food scientist!

USDA does, on many of its webpages and brochures, advise thawing before using a slow cooker. I looked at a bunch of their sites, trying to find one explained the science as well as just giving the advice. I didn't really find what I wanted, but I did think this site came closest, a general food-safety handbook, and it might be useful for a lot of us http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/kitchen-companion-your-safe-food-handbook/ct_index
 
Susan W. January 16, 2015
Oh dear. I'm pretty brave and have heard it's okay to do that, but I don't remember the source. Google it and see if you can find a USDA source for an answer. Or see if a slow cooker brand has that info on its website or their blog. The problem I see is because the backs were frozen, it took the slow cooker even longer to reach a safe cooking temp.

No, boiling it won't get rid of that sort of bacteria.
 
hardlikearmour January 16, 2015
There are 2 types of food poisoning: food borne infection like Salmonella, Shigella, Listeria, etc... and food borne intoxication from toxins produced by Staphylococcus or other bacteria. While boiling will kill most/all of the non-spore forming bacteria (so pretty much anything but botulism), it will not denature the toxins bacteria may have produced.
The USDA recommends thawing food prior to putting it in the slow cooker: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/shared/PDF/Slow_Cookers_and_Food_Safety.pdf
 
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