FAQ's

Below is a selection of our most frequently asked questions. If you do have any other questions not listed please contact us.

Why is it so important for a Muslim to strictly consume Halal?

Consuming Halal is an order of Allah and an essential part of the Islamic faith. Allah has repeatedly emphasised the consumption of Halal in His book. The following are some examples of such verses:

i.O Messengers, eat from the pure foods and work righteousness (Holy Quran 23:51)

ii.O you who have believed, eat from the pure things which we have provided you (Holy Quran 2:172)

iii.O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth (that is) lawful and pure (Holy Quran 2:168)

iv.So eat of that (meat) upon which Allah's name has been mentioned, if you are believers in His verses (Holy Quran 6:118)

v.And do not eat that upon which the name of Allah has not been mentioned, for indeed it is a grave disobedience. (Holy Quran 6:121)

By being careless about the dietary laws of Islam a believer puts himself in harms way both in this world and the world hereafter. In this world, due to in taking such a product he deprives himself from having any of his good deeds and duas accepted by his creator while in the hereafter he suffers the greatest loss ever imaginable i.e. refusal from being admitted to Paradise . All this is confirmed in the following traditions:

i.Abu Hurairah RA related, Allah's Messenger PBUH said: Verily Allah is pure and He accepts only what is pure and indeed Allah has given those orders to the believers, which he has given to the Messengers. He has said, O Messenger, eat from the pure foods and work righteous. He -also- has said: O you who have believed, eat from the pure things which we have provided you. Then (the Prophet PBUH) made mention of a man who undergoes a lengthy journey in a state that he is dishevelled and dusty. He spreads his hands towards the sky (calling), O my lord, O my lord, however his food is Haram, his drink is Haram, his clothes are Haram and he has been nourished with Haram! So how will his call be answered? (Muslim)

ii.S'ad RA relates: Allah's messenger PBUH said O S'ad purify your food (and as a result) you will become one who's supplications are accepted. I swear by He in whose hands the soul of Muhammad PBUH lies, verily a servant (of Allah) tosses a Haram morsel in his stomach (due to which) no deed is accepted from him for 40 days (Tabarani)

iii.Abu Baker RA narrated that Allah's Messenger PBUH said That body will not enter Paradise which has been nourished with Haram (Baihaqi)

iv.Ka`b Ibn Ujrah relates that the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said, a body nourished with Haram will not enter Jannah. (Tirmidhi)

v.Jabir RA reported, Allah's Messenger PBUH said, That flesh will not enter Paradise which has grown from Haram, and all that flesh which has grown from Haram, the fire (of hell) is more worthy of it. (Ahmed, Darimi, Baihaqi)

vi.Abu Hurayrah (RA) reports that the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said, a time will come upon the people wherein a man will not bother what he intakes; whether from Halal source or Haram. (Bukhari)

In our times, it becomes even more important to ensure the meat and poultry consumed is genuinely Halal due to the execessive deceit, cheat and false labelling of Halal in the industry.

Can i refreeze frozen food?

A: Refreezing thawed frozen foods is not advised from either a safety or quality point of view. The main reason is to avoid the risk of improper defrosting methods. Freezing foods stops any bacteria found naturally in foods to grow, until the food is defrosted. Once frozen food is thawed, the bacteria become active again. We recommend that thawed foods should be cooked as soon as possible.

However frozen ingredients can be cooked and then frozen again. Once you have cooked food, you should wait until it has completely cooled to room temperature before placing it in a Tupperware container and then storing it in the freezer. The food will now be stored safely until you decide to warm in up and eat it!

- See more at: www.frozenfastfood.co.uk

How Long Can I Leave Food in the Freezer?

A: Always refer to the on-pack ‘best before’ date. The manufacturer’s ‘best before’ date on frozen foods is a quality indicator and is the date until which the product will remain in peak quality (when stored at -18°C or below). After the ‘best before’ date a reduction in eating quality may become evident, whilst the product remains safe to eat. Try to rotate foods; putting newly purchased items at the back of the freezer so older items are used first.

- See more at: www.frozenfastfood.co.uk

What Temperature Should My Freezer Be?

A: Most home freezers should operate at temperatures -18°C or lower. Rule of thumb, if your freezer can’t keep ice cream solid, its temperature is above the recommended level.

- See more at: www.frozenfastfood.co.uk

What is the Best Way of Defrosting Frozen Food?

A: The purpose of thawing frozen foods thoroughly before cooking is to ensure that during cooking the food is heated sufficiently to kill harmful bacteria.

There are three safe ways to defrost food:

  • In the refrigerator
  • In cold water
  • In the microwave*

*Most importantly, follow instructions from manufacturer

  • It’s best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. The bottom of the fridge is ideal.
  • For faster defrosting, place food in a leak proof plastic bag and immerse it in cold water. Change water every 30 minutes. After thawing, cook immediately.
  • For defrosting ready meals, always follow the instructions.

- See more at: www.frozenfastfood.co.uk

How Often Should I Defrost my Freezer?

A: A good way to know that it is time to defrost is when you see around 1/2 inch thickness of ice around the inside of the freezer. Another way is to look out for ice crystals forming on frozen food packages and frozen ready meals. Luckily most freezers today are made to be frost-free and require little or no defrosting. However if you have an older model and you want to keep it running efficiently, use these steps to do so. Taking the time to defrost periodically will save you the headache of having a huge mess later down the road.

How to defrost your freezer:

  • Wrap frozen items and frozen ready meals in newspaper and place in a box in a cold area
  • Unplug your freezer and wedge the door open
  • Remove freezer drawers
  • Place towels or any type of absorbent material at the bottom and in front of the freezer to mop up the water as the ice thaws
  • Do not use any sharp implements to remove the ice build-up from the freezer, as this will damage the appliance
  • Once all the ice has thawed, clean the freezer and drawers with warm water
  • Wipe the freezer dry and replace the drawers
  • Plug the freezer back into the mains, making sure that the thermostat is set at the correct level
  • Re-pack the freezer.

- See more at: www.frozenfastfood.co.uk

How Do You Defrost Chicken?

Depending on the time you have available there are 3 methods to defrost frozen chicken: in the fridge, in water or in your microwave. Remember – frozen chicken should never be defrosted at room temperature.

Defrosting in your fridge

To defrost your frozen chicken place it at the bottom of the fridge, in a bowl large enough to catch any juices that may drip. Do not allow any of these raw meat juices to come into contact with fridge surfaces or food as this may contaminate them. If the bird has packaging or wrapping this should be kept on during the defrost process. The thawed chicken can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days before you cook it. If your chicken does not have any packaging you should cover the bird whilst it is in the fridge.

This is the slowest method but this is the safest method. You should plan your defrosting time for roughly five hours per pound of meat (see below).

Defrosting times

Chicken size

Defrost time

3 lbs

15 hours

5 lbs

24 hours

7 lbs

34 hours

10 lbs

48 hours

Defrosting frozen chicken using cold water

Thawing frozen chicken in cold water is faster than defrosting it in the fridge – great if you’re in a hurry!

Because this method involves immersing the frozen bird in water the chicken must be wrapped in a sealed plastic bag so that the water does not leak onto the meat. Frozen chicken must be completely covered by cold water throughout the defrosting period. To ensure that the water remains cold you should change it every half an hour. You should never use warm water to quicken the process, as this may encourage the growth of bacteria to harmful levels. You should allow for half an hour per pound of meat (see below).

Defrosting times

Chicken size

Defrost time

3 lbs

1.5 hours

4 lbs

2 hours

8 lbs

4 hours

 

Defrosting frozen chicken using your microwave

If you are pressed for time, this method can be useful. Refer to the microwave manual as many microwaves are different and require different times to defrost a whole bird. Care needs to be taken to ensure that you do not dry out the meat when you defrost.

For chicken breasts or small pieces of chicken, ensure that the wrapping is removed before putting the meat in the microwave. Put the pieces in a microwave dish so as to catch dripping juices and, using the defrost setting, defrost two minutes at a time checking progress between each go. Once the chicken pieces have been defrosted, they should be cooked straight away.

Chicken must be properly defrosted before it is cooked. Ensure your chicken is completely defrosted by feeling for ice crystals inside the cavity of the bird. If crystals are there, the bird is not defrosted yet. You can also test thicker parts of the meat with a fork to see if it feels frozen.

Never refreeze chicken once it is defrosted, it is however safe to do so once the meat is cooked. Always clean plates, utensils, surfaces and hands thoroughly, after they have touched raw or thawing meat, to stop bacteria from spreading.

- See more at: www.frozenfastfood.co.uk

Frozen Food Storing, Defrosting & Cooking Advice

Freezing is a natural way of preserving food – we provide you with top tips to get the most from your frozen foods through safe storage, defrosting and cooking.

How does freezing preserve foods?

  • It’s impossible for bacteria to multiply on frozen food – which makes it safer than any other form of food preservation.
  • Foods today are ‘flash frozen’. This process, which freezes water in the food into smaller ice crystals, minimizing cell structure damage. Quick-freezing foods and then storing them at temperatures -18°C or lower slows the natural degradation process practically to zero.
  • So, make sure you store your frozen food correctly, and it will retain its colour, texture, nutritional value and taste.

How can I store frozen foods safely?

Freezing naturally locks in nutrients and vitamins with no need for preservatives.

Follow the guidelines below to ensure that your frozen foods last longer and stay even fresher:

  • All foods can be safely frozen, but some foods should not be frozen for quality reasons (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, cream etc.)
  • Frozen food stored consistently at -18°C or lower will remain safe indefinitely
  • Most domestic freezers should operate at temperatures -18°C or lower. As a general rule, if your freezer can’t keep ice cream solid, its temperature is above the recommended level
  • Always refer to the on-pack ‘best before’ date. The manufacturer’s ‘best before’ date on frozen foods is a quality indicator and is the date until which the product will remain of peak quality (when stored at -18°C or below). For storage in a 3-star or 4-star freezer manufacturers will normally recommend ‘store until best before date’
  • After the ‘best before’ date a reduction in eating quality may become evident, whilst the product remains safe to eat
  • Try to rotate foods; putting newly purchased items at the back of the freezer so older items are used first
  • Freeze your frozen food in appropriate containers, e.g. freezer bags and airtight containers.
  • Most foods obey the rule ‘the colder the better’. Domestic freezers have a star rating indicating the temperature they are designed to operate at.

The freezer star ratings are as follows1

*

Ice Box

-6°C

**

Ice Box

-12°C

***

Ice Box

-18°C

****

Freezer

-18°C

Fast Freeze Temp in a **** Freezer = -26°C

 

How long does frozen food last?

On the packaging of a frozen food item there is often guidance stating how long the food can be stored using freezers of a given star rating. As a guide here are some suggested MAXIMUM storage times at -18°C for a variety of foods.

Product

Practical Storage Life (in months)

Vegetables

Frozen Broccoli

15

Frozen Green Beans

18

Frozen Brussels sprouts

15

Frozen Carrots

18

Frozen Cauliflower

15

Frozen Corn on the cob

12

Frozen Peas

18

Frozen Potato Chips

24

Frozen Spinach

18

Raw meat and meat Products

Frozen Beef joints, Steaks

12

Frozen Beef mince

10

Frozen Lamb joints, chops

10

Frozen Pork joints, chops

6

Frozen Sausages

6

Frozen Bacon

2-4

Frozen Poultry

12

Fish and Shellfish

Frozen oily fish (herring, salmon, mackerel, etc)

4

Frozen fish, cod, haddock, etc

8

Frozen flat fish, sole, plaice, etc

10

Frozen Prawns, lobster, crab

6

Frozen Clams, oysters

4

Other Foods

Ice Cream

6

 

Product

Practical Storage Life (in months)

Vegetables

Frozen Broccoli

15

Frozen Green Beans

18

Frozen Brussels sprouts

15

Frozen Carrots

18

Frozen Cauliflower

15

Frozen Corn on the cob

12

Frozen Peas

18

Frozen Potato Chips

24

Frozen Spinach

18

Raw meat and meat Products

Frozen Beef joints, Steaks

12

Frozen Beef mince

10

Frozen Lamb joints, chops

10

Frozen Pork joints, chops

6

Frozen Sausages

6

Frozen Bacon

2-4

Frozen Poultry

12

Fish and Shellfish

Frozen oily fish (herring, salmon, mackerel, etc)

4

Frozen fish, cod, haddock, etc

8

Frozen flat fish, sole, plaice, etc

10

Frozen Prawns, lobster, crab

6

Frozen Clams, oysters

4

Other Foods

Ice Cream

6

These figures refer to commercially frozen products; food frozen at home is unlikely to remain of high quality for the same length of time.

Home Freezing

Your home freezer does not freeze foods quickly enough to minimise cell damage in foods because it does not get foods to freezing temperature quickly enough. Frozen foods and frozen meals from the supermarkets have been professionally and quickly flash frozen and so they retain their vitamins and nutrients, texture and colours as a result – the goodness is ‘locked in’.

Your home freezer is not designed to freeze foods from your kitchen but to store frozen foods from the shops.

Freshly Frozen

Vegetables are frozen within hours of harvest

The ingredients in frozen meals and frozen food products can be fresher than ‘fresh’ foods because they are frozen at harvest and also because they are frozen at their peak of quality.

Flash Freezing seals in the goodness. Frozen vegetables have been proven to often contain more Vitamin C than fresh.

See below for info on how much Vitamin C is lost when ‘fresh’ vegetables sit around on shop shelves and in your fridge. ‘Fresh’ spinach loses 77% of its Vitamin C after just two days! And, bear in mind that fresh vegetables are often a week old by the time they reach our shops.

Quantity of Vitamin C

(mg/100g)*

Freshly picked peas

22.1

Fresh peas (after 2 days)

14.1

Frozen peas

20.2

Freshly picked spinach

17.0

Fresh spinach (after 2 days)

4.1

Frozen spinach

14.0

Freshly picked french beans

16.4

Fresh french beans (after 2 days)

7.9

Frozen french beans

14.3

*Source: Deutsches Tiefkuhlinstitut

 

 Frozen Pre-Packaged Meals

Frozen meals have surprisingly been around for much longer than you might imagine. The Romans and Ancient Chinese had been freezing their frozen foods in caves filled with snow for thousands of years before Clarence Birdseye made it accessible to all! Here are some of the benefits of frozen meals:

  • The quality and taste of your food is preserved, because quick freezing prevents undesirable large ice crystals from forming in the items. Ready meals are frozen to lock in the nutrients naturally.
  • Your food is less likely to become ‘freezer burned’, which happens when air reaches the surface of the food. This is because the methods of packaging used are completely air tight in ready meals.
  • Because pre-packaged frozen foods and ready meals are frozen at peak quality, they come to your table tasting better than foods frozen near the end of their useful life.
  • Vitamin content in frozen foods and frozen ready meals also often higher as freezing slows down the loss of vitamins and nutrients that occurs over time.
  • Domestic freezers are designed to store frozen food, rather than freeze fresh produce. So frozen ready meals take advantage of the latest technologies in freezing the freshness in!

Keep frozen food fresh

Three ways of keeping that ‘just frozen’ freshness

  • When you’re buying frozen food, always check that the packaging is undamaged.
  • Always buy frozen foods at the end of your shopping trip before check out and pack your frozen items together.
  • Put frozen items in freezer as soon as possible.

Safe ways to defrost

Depending on how much time you have, there are three accepted ways to safely defrost frozen foods

The purpose of thawing frozen foods thoroughly before cooking is to ensure that during cooking the food is heated sufficiently to kill harmful bacteria.

There are three safe ways to defrost food:

  • In the refrigerator
  • In cold water
  • In the microwave*

*Most importantly, follow instructions from manufacturer

It’s best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. The bottom of the fridge is ideal.

For faster defrosting, place food in a leak proof plastic bag and immerse it in cold water. Change water every 30 minutes. After thawing, cook immediately.

Cooking from frozen

  • Many ready prepared foods can be safely cooked directly from the frozen state because the manufactures have designed the cooking method to ensure that the food is properly cooked. Therefore, if the pack tells you to ‘cook from frozen’ it is important to do so, as this will give the best results. Always follow the cooking instructions on the packaging carefully.
  • Always cook vegetables from frozen in order to keep the nutrients ‘locked in’.

Refreezing thawed foods

Safety tips:

  • Refreezing thawed foods is not advised from a safety or quality point of view
  • The main reason is to avoid the risk of improper defrosting methods, i.e. thawing at room temperature for too long a time or letting the thawed food get too warm before refreezing is started.

Storing thawed foods

  • Thawed foods should be treated as carefully as chilled foods, i.e. kept in the refrigerator
  • Thawed frozen foods should be cooked as soon as possible
  • Care should be taken to ensure that juices released after thawing do not drip onto the refrigerator surfaces – therefore, thawed meets should be stored covered at the bottom of a fridge for no more than 24 hours. Unless advised otherwise by the manufacturer.

- See more at: www.frozenfastfood.co.uk

Advice on Defrosting a Freezer

Be kind to your freezer – defrost it before your frozen foods do!

Regular maintenance gives a freezer and your frozen food a longer life. In fact, regular checks and upkeep will help you save you money by keeping your foods as fresh and tasty as the day you purchased them for longer. In the UK today having a freezer is pretty much essential. Not many of us think much about this and we take our freezer for granted.

Make sure you regularly defrost your freezer – this will help preserve your food at the correct temperature (about -18˚C) and help your freezer minimise energy waste.

When to defrost

Recognise the signs in your freezer. A good way to know that it is time to defrost is when you see around 1/2 inch thickness of ice around the inside of the freezer.

Another way is to look out for ice crystals forming on packages. Luckily most freezers today are made to be frost-free and require little or no defrosting. However, if you have an older model and you want to keep it running efficiently, use these steps to do so. Taking the time to defrost periodically will save you the headache of having a huge mess later down the road.

How to defrost

  • Follow these tips for safety in thawing:
  • Wrap frozen items in newspaper and place in a box in a cold area
  • Unplug freezer and wedge open door
  • Remove freezer drawers
  • Place towels or any type of absorbent material at the bottom and in front of the freezer to mop up the water as the ice thaws
  • Do not use any sharp implements to remove the ice build-up from the freezer, as this will damage the appliance
  • Once all the ice has thawed, clean the freezer and drawers with warm water
  • Wipe the freezer dry and replace the drawers
  • Plug freezer back into the mains and make sure the thermostat is set correctly
  • Re-pack the freezer.

Stay Switched On!

Keep the temperature constant. If you look after your freezer your frozen food and frozen ready meals will last longer and stay fresher. Frozen ready meals are packaged professionally to keep them airtight and this avoids freezer burn but you will need to ensure that you always keep the freezer on so that frozen food and frozen ready meals never thaw and refreeze. Frozen meals can last a long time if you run your freezer efficiently.

Reducing Energy Usage

Your freezer can cost you just £18 per year!

  • Make sure your freezer is not over packed with food or ice, as this will prevent the freezer from maintaining a low temperature.
  • Keep a check of what you’ve got in the freezer – this will help in keeping your freezer door open for less time, and in turn waste less energy.
  • Remember, every degree colder means the freezer will use nearly 2 per cent more energy!

What to do if your freezer fails

  1. Don’t Panic!
  2. Keep the doors of the freezer shut
  3. Check that it is switched on at the mains
  4. Replace the fuse
  5. Check with friends and neighbours if they can store your frozen food and frozen ready meals
  6. Call a service engineer – if the engineer is likely to be prompt, keep the freezer door closed. Depending on how full the freezer is, food can remain frozen for 24 hours or more. The more full the freezer, the longer the contents will remain frozen
  7. After the repairs have been made do the following:

a. If the frozen food has defrosted, remove it from the freezer and check their temperature close to the surface of each item. If it is warmer than the temperature of a refrigerator (>4°C) discard the products and check your household insurance policy or any freezer warranty you have, you may be covered.

b. Take this opportunity to thoroughly clean the surfaces according to the freezer manufacturer’s instructions. Allow to dry with the door open and the freezer switched off, prior to restocking the freezer.

c. If foods have thawed but are still colder than 4°C store them at the bottom of a refrigerator and use within 24 hours. Once fully cooked many foods can be frozen to be used within one month. Foods intended to be consumed frozen (e.g. ice cream) should be discarded. Check the instructions on your frozen ready meals for consume by dates after defrosting.

d. If foods are still frozen and have not softened, turn the freezer to its maximum setting for 24 hours, before restoring to a setting, which maintains a temperature of -18°C.

- See more at: www.frozenfastfood.co.uk