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Health Risks of slightly thawing frozen pizza before cooking

ElaroElaro Threadkiller,Harbinger of the Lock GodsRegistered User regular
edited March 2 in Help / Advice Forum
Hi!

I just recently annoyed my housemates because I got alarmed about one of them leaving an unwrapped frozen pizza with meat toppings to thaw while the oven was preheating, despite its packaging clearly stating that it was important to not do that and to cook the pizza from frozen. I don't think it had been left out for more than 6-7 minutes. When I picked it up to put it in the oven, the edges of the crust had gotten soft enough to move around, but like, not more than half a centimeter (at most!) was soft.

Yes, the pizza was being prepared for all three of us.

I got alarmed because I had previously been informed, probably from some resource on the Internet, that leaving frozen pizzas with meat toppings out to thaw before cooking increased the risk of getting food poisoning. I'm having a difficult time finding anything official enough about frozen pizza, though. This is the pizza in question.

Now, are they being irresponsible, or am I overreacting? And if they are, do you have any resources I could share with them to convince them?

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... And flattery will get you nowhere.
Elaro on

Posts

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    Meat is not going to go from ‘okay to consume’ to ‘hazardous’ in the ten minutes it takes to preheat your oven. Assuming you’re not like, chopping raw chicken on the same counter it’ll be fine.

    The instructions on the box are there to make cooking that kind of thing absolutely as brainless as possible; with that in mind they’re prepared to be cooked from frozen.

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  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    The only risk is that you then undercook it judging purely by the crust, but if you followed the instructions then you've just cooked it a bit more. You're massively overreacting, sorry.

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Frozen pizza meat toppings are frequently precooked anyway. The instructions don't want you to have a partially thawed pizza because you'll end up with burned crust before the cheese can brown.

    The temperature on a pizza probably gets way above comfortable for bacteria as well. I don't think a fully frozen pizza would get to the "danger zone" unless left out for several hours.

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  • ElaroElaro Threadkiller, Harbinger of the Lock GodsRegistered User regular
    All right, thank you.

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... And flattery will get you nowhere.
  • honoverehonovere Registered User regular
    There are also a bunch of frozen pizzas that explicitly tell you thaw them a bit before baking.

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  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    It's not a health thing, it's a fire hazard thing. If you place pizza directly on the rack, like most frozen pizzas suggest (for improved crust texture), a pizza that is thawed has a much higher chance of sagging through the grate and landing on the oven's heating element.

    BurtletoyKayne Red RobeknitdanKanaZilla360ShadowfireAtheraal
  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    The same way how when a frozen pizza tells you to cook it for 18-20minutes you set the timer to 14 and check it to make sure it isn't burned to a crisp

    Elvenshae
  • zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    If it’s less than 30 minutes. It’s fine, it won’t have gotten to “danger temp” in that time.

    6+ hours is danger zone though.

    ElaroSiska
  • HappylilElfHappylilElf Registered User regular
    Delzhand wrote: »
    It's not a health thing, it's a fire hazard thing. If you place pizza directly on the rack, like most frozen pizzas suggest (for improved crust texture), a pizza that is thawed has a much higher chance of sagging through the grate and landing on the oven's heating element.

    I've always had a firm rule that anyone who follows the instructions of placing the pizza directly on the rack is responsible for cleaning the god damned oven immediately after eating the pizza :tongue:

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  • zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    Delzhand wrote: »
    It's not a health thing, it's a fire hazard thing. If you place pizza directly on the rack, like most frozen pizzas suggest (for improved crust texture), a pizza that is thawed has a much higher chance of sagging through the grate and landing on the oven's heating element.

    I've always had a firm rule that anyone who follows the instructions of placing the pizza directly on the rack is responsible for cleaning the god damned oven immediately after eating the pizza :tongue:

    The best pro tip is to have 2 racks, the top rack has the pizza, and the bottom rack under it has a cookie sheet.

    If the oven isn't big enough for that they have holey oven sheets for pizza that are almost as good.

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  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    zepherin wrote: »
    Delzhand wrote: »
    It's not a health thing, it's a fire hazard thing. If you place pizza directly on the rack, like most frozen pizzas suggest (for improved crust texture), a pizza that is thawed has a much higher chance of sagging through the grate and landing on the oven's heating element.

    I've always had a firm rule that anyone who follows the instructions of placing the pizza directly on the rack is responsible for cleaning the god damned oven immediately after eating the pizza :tongue:

    The best pro tip is to have 2 racks, the top rack has the pizza, and the bottom rack under it has a cookie sheet.

    If the oven isn't big enough for that they have holey oven sheets for pizza that are almost as good.

    I found one of those under my oven when I moved it. It is delightful to have trash frozen pizza and not have to clean the ash out of the bottom of the oven.

    Really though, you're facing bigger health risks just eating frozen pizza than you are thawing it out before you cook it.

    spool32
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Can you put parchment paper under it or will it burn at pizza temps

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  • LostNinjaLostNinja Registered User regular
    Paladin wrote: »
    Can you put parchment paper under it or will it burn at pizza temps

    I’ve cooked a frozen one on a baking sheet with parchment paper before. Not directly in the rack.

  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    Paladin wrote: »
    Can you put parchment paper under it or will it burn at pizza temps

    Parchment should be fine. When you're up around 450 or more for awhile it will sometimes brown, but the only time I've really had issues with parchment burning in the oven is when using the broiler.

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  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    Fahrenheit 451, and what-not

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  • honoverehonovere Registered User regular
    baking parchment needs temperatures of like 300°C (570f) to actually inflame. I don't think I've ever seen a frozen pizza that wants more than 230C/450F

    Kayne Red Robe
  • GilgaronGilgaron Registered User regular
    A fun rule of thumb for spoilage, is that under ideal conditions E. coli will double every 20 minutes. Ideal would be on TSA agar or in TSB at 30°C, any prepared food is going to be less than ideal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3645889/ Now, the ID50 for E. coli O157 is only 50 CFU so that sounds pretty low, but they should've made sure there wasn't any in the ingredients already, but for other food spoilage organisms the ID50 is higher and they double slower.

    Food cooking instructions are validated so that they should kill incidental contaminants. THey validate them by spiking, say, a pizza with a pathogen like E. coli, following the instructions, and trying to recover it afterward. (This includes the "let it set for X minutes" which lets the heat have time kill microbes). If you can't recover the pathogens then the instructions are sufficient to sterilize incidental contaminants and so only the inputs are tested, since they're cheaper than final product.

    So in sitting out the time it took your oven to warm up, maybe there are a few more bacteria, but you're not planning on eating it raw anyhow and cooking it per the package is going to kill them anyway.

    Kayne Red RobeHappylilElfAbsoluteZerozepherin
  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    For those that want a crispy crust without the threat of sagging, a good 12" cast iron griddle or pan will do wonders. Just let it pre-heat with the oven, a super light rubbing of oil then slide the pizza on there. It'll get nice and crusty with no clean up.

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