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Are silicone bags safe for storing chicken?

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silicone bags used in the freezer to reduce waste

This week I had an email from Kerry who wrote

“Every few weeks I buy a bulk of chicken breasts (when they are on sale). I then pound them flat (quicker to cook) and store each individual breast (just me eating) in a ziplock sandwich bag then freeze.

I have figured out how to cook these from frozen in 30 minutes with fresh veggies in the oven. This system is great for me as I rarely know if I’ll be having dinner at home so defrosting ahead won’t work. I have tried and don’t care for the prefrozen individual chicken breasts.

So, my question is, would it be safe to use the silicon baggies and wash them for reuse instead of the single use ziplock baggies?

Can one really safely store raw chicken in them and wash them enough to get rid of raw chicken bacteria goop? I wish there was something to wash them in (as in a soap or liquid) that definitely killed the bacteria. I do have a dishwasher – would that really work?

I’m worried about the nooks and crannies of the silicone bag storing bacteria – Am I being cra-cra? Any other suggestions? a tub won’t work as the breasts would stick together unless I used plastic wrap to separate – the separation is not always so great either. Thank you!!”

I put the question out to our Facebook Group and here’s what they had to say:

Julie, Oriana and Jazzmine freeze the chicken on trays and once frozen transfer to a reusable box which they say can be washed out with hot water to get rid of the bacteria.

Maddy does things slightly differently, she says “I recommend freezing all at once on a tray or two or above mentioned and then put them all in a large bag.. bag can still be reused again for next batch of frozen chicken”

Esther advised, ” If she wants to use silicone it should be ok to boil them after cleaning to be sure to kill everything, then the water can be left to cool and used to water plants” Louise then expanded the point by saying “I would think that because the chicken is being cooked after coming out of the silicone bags that any bacteria that might have been left behind would be killed by cooking. I was also going to suggest boiling the silicon bags if concerned ”

Sarah reassured Kelly by writing “I’m sure the silicon baggies would be fine – after all we wash and reuse the chopping boards and knifes we use with raw meats 😊 in that case either a reusable silicon baggie or zip lock ‘single use’ plastic baggie could be washed and reused many times for storing raw meat I’d say, so long as they are properly washed out between uses.”

Amanda, Jakki, Sarah and Jessica reuse their ziplock bags happily. Jessica writes “I use my ziplock bags over and over and over until they fall apart. I turn them inside out and scrub them with detergent just like I’d scrub any other item which has touched food.” Gayle also agreed, she wrote “I use the plastic zip lock bags for all sorts of things that I freeze and I always wash them out and re-use. We haven’t had any problems at all Hope that helps”. Hannah said “Yes, soap is sufficient to kill chicken bacteria.”

Debbie introduced us to freezer paper, saying “You can get “freezer paper” I use it for making dress making patterns but haven’t used it for food x it comes in rolls like greaseproof paper or tinfoil does x”

Charlie offered the following suggestions “I would say reusable silicone bags are fine or the glass storage boxes (You can get a few small ones which would fit a single chicken breast in cheap, I’ve seen some in tkmaxx) or a larger one with baking parchment inbetween (though this is still a single use item which isn’t ideal)

Sarah said ” I would say reusable silicone bags are fine or the glass storage boxes (You can get a few small ones which would fit a single chicken breast in cheap, I’ve seen some in tkmaxx) or a larger one with baking parchment inbetween (though this is still a single use item which isn’t ideal). I’m sure boiling hot water and washing up liquid would be fine to remove bacteria as that’s what you use on chopping boards etc. I usually wash with boiling soapy water then put in the dishwasher to be safe but that’s probably overkill”

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Rachelle Strauss

Rachelle Strauss

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