Fish in Freezer for 2 Years: Is It Still Safe to Eat?

Fish in Freezer for 2 Years

Is the fish in the freezer for 2 years safe to eat?

There are many ways to find out whether it is safe or not. For example, you can check the smell of the fish firstly and see if it smells bad. Secondly is to check whether there are any changes in its color or texture. Thirdly you can examine its freshness by cutting it open and taste the flesh by slicing a small piece of the meat.

However, what do we do if after checking the three factors above we find that it is still good? Is this fish also safe for us to eat?

In other words, how long can we safely store fish in our freezer?

According to the research done by experts from the marine biology field at Macquarie University in Australia, frozen fish for 12 months will be kept in good condition without any major changes.

The researchers even said that the reason why frozen fish is still fresh and safe to eat after 12 months of storage in a freezer is due to the naturally contained antifreeze compounds within it.

These compounds help prevent ice crystals from forming in the tissues of fish which would normally cause tissue breakdown during freezing (due to expansion) and thawing (due to contraction).

However, this does not mean we can keep our thawed fish for more than 2 years because as time goes by bacteria will grow rapidly and affect its quality.

Additionally, if you find your frozen fish start to smell bad or rancid then it’s best for you to throw them away just like what we do with other foods.

How long can you keep fish in the freezer before it goes bad?

According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), fish can be safely stored in your freezer for about 4 months.

While chicken, ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal can each last up to 6 months.

The main cause of spoilage or foodborne illness is due to bacteria growing on surfaces inside refrigerators.

 So it is important that you keep whatever you put in your refrigerator below 40 degrees Fahrenheit so they won’t grow.

Either way, whenever buying meats like fish from the grocery store make sure you check its expiration date first before purchasing it because once frozen meat has surpassed its expiration date then they will go bad regardless if you put them in the freezer or not.

This is mainly because when exposed to warm temperatures inside our freezers, bacteria responsible for food poisoning will still grow even if you keep them at a temperature below 40 degrees F.

Therefore, make sure to date mark your frozen fish with the date you take it out of the freezer and then consume it within 4 months or before its expiration date especially when buying frozen meat from your local grocery store.

The most important thing is if after taking your thawed frozen meat out of the refrigerator, you notice that it has a bad smell or taste then just throw it away.

There’s no point in trying to cook or eat something rotten and smelly.

How to know if frozen fish is safe?

Here are a few tips to help you evaluate the safety of frozen fish:

  1. Before you buy your frozen fish, make sure that they don’t have any physical changes such as holes, discoloration, and deformations on their surface. The eyes should be crystal clear.
  2. If the package is unopened then check its “use by” date carefully and do not use it beyond this date. But if it’s opened before, then use it within three days after defrosting them at room temperature (not in the microwave oven).
  3. Properly wrap the fish fillets with plastic wrap or place them in airtight containers to prevent freezer burns. Remember, most food freezers can only reach -18°C at their best, and -25°C, the temperature that most bacteria cannot survive in.  You should always check your freezer thermostat settings and keep it on this level to maintain food safety.
  4. If you decide to use frozen fish, make sure you defrost the fillets in the refrigerator overnight before cooking and consuming them. Also, remember not to refreeze your thawed fish and other food that has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  5. Do not consume any raw seafood, including frozen ones. Ready-to-eat products like smoked salmon should be eaten right after they’re cooked and properly stored in the fridge or freezer afterward.
  6. As a general rule of thumb, if the smell changes from being mild then it’s best to throw it away immediately because bacteria will grow rapidly without proper handling and storage practices!

Final Thoughts

If you have fish frozen for two years, there are many things needed to take into consideration before cooking and consuming such as the actual condition of the fish, its original expiration date, and whether or not you will still be able to cook it after defrosting.

If I were you then before cooking your frozen fish, make sure they have not gone bad by either smelling it first or asking a food expert for their professional opinion.

If everything is fine, then just follow the guidelines above to properly evaluate them before eating them in order to avoid any risks of eating spoiled foods.


USDA: Food Safety and Inspection Service