Overly cautious type: Can I Eat It? Frozen veggie bags
December 19, 2017 2:53 AM   Subscribe

I am extremely overly cautious about food as I have chronic illness and stomach problems. When frozen veggies have small pinholes in the bag, are they safe to eat?

I’m primarily talking about frozen kale. Our normal brand is in a thicker bag. This is in a thinner bag and there are tiny pinholes in both bags where it looks like the kale was stacked/crushed. 

Anything obviously torn open or seams not sealed I refuse to eat. 

But, pinholes from stacking/use - are they okay? I mean, I’m sure I must have had it in the past and not noticed. 

Very overly cautious food eaters responses please - am I good?

We don't have any meat in the freezer.

(If you would eat just about anything, then that response isn’t helpful to me. I have chronic illnesses and stomach problems and a very sensitive system.)
posted by SockWombat to Food & Drink (9 answers total)
The thing you should have concerns about is if the frozen produce has reached warmer temperatures and refrozen over the course of storage. The way to tell that is if everything in the bag is loose when you shake it with no huge icy clumps, you're good. Additionally, due to your sensitivity I'm going to assume that you will rinse and cook your produce well before eating, rather than going from frozen to thawed and eating it cold. That should take care of the same kinds of things you wash and cook fresh produce for, and also keep the temperature at either freezing or hot with minimal time spent at a temperature that's friendly to bacteria. I would say pretty unreservedly that you're good, here. But I also understand that sometimes it's not worth the mental stress and if you want to take a pass on these specific veggies, that's okay too.
posted by Mizu at 3:38 AM on December 19, 2017

I've noticed that a lot of frozen vegetables at my local supermarket have multiple tiny little holes in them. I think this is to assist with packing and stacking the bags without them bursting. So if the holes are like this, or even if they are accidental holes from when the bag was crushed slightly, I think it's safe to eat.

It's good standard practice to cook frozen vegetables through for at least a couple of minutes before eating, so this would help kill off any bacteria that could be in there. Since the vegetables were frozen nothing would have had a chance to multiply yet. Food poisoning is a risk when food has been left between 6C and 60C for several hours (4 - 6 at least), so that shouldn't apply in this case.

I would only be worried about holes in the packaging if you think that someone tampered with it.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 4:06 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Tiny holes in our frozen pea bags are entirely normal. As above, I think it's to aid stacking without bursting the bags. Totally fine. Eat away.
posted by pompomtom at 4:13 AM on December 19, 2017 [7 favorites]

I'd also hazard that those pinholes are to help with the "steaming in the bag" process (via microwave) that so many frozen vegetable packaging promotes now.
posted by kuanes at 5:07 AM on December 19, 2017 [6 favorites]

No need to obsess, the food is fine.
posted by floam at 5:48 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Uhg. Thanks all! I shall consume it tonight!

I've just been on high alert because over the past year we've noticed a huge uptick in bad packaging across all brands/foods - from unsealed seams to leaky tofu containers. A week ago I was graced with a confetti of frozen kale that covered my kitchen due to a completely open back seam.

Upon super close inspection while most of the marks look random, they are uniform and in the same area of both bags so they must be part of production.

It goes straight into a hot pan and sauteed for about 3 to 5+ mins. I always eat food within an hour and cool any large portions of food in tupperware on ice packs for about a half hour before putting them in the fridge and use a fridge/freezer thermometer.
posted by SockWombat at 7:25 PM on December 19, 2017

I'm curious about the ice packs, if I can sneak an follow-up question past the mods. Is that to avoid putting hot food in the fridge? Does that save electricity?
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:25 AM on December 20, 2017

It will not save electricity if you use the same refrigerator to freeze those ice packs. It will waste electricity. I suppose it could save a minuscule amount if you froze them by putting them outdoors in a place that is extremely cold but it is hard to imagine anyone bothering.
posted by floam at 8:33 PM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was thinking it would use more electricity, because you're also cooling the counter the packs are sitting on and the air around them, but this is not my forté.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:21 PM on December 21, 2017

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