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Beef Freezing Information ] Lamb Freezing Information ] Pork Freezing Information ] Poultry Freezing Information ]

Freezing & Refrigeration Guide






To maintain the quality of fresh meats, store them properly. Uncooked meat should be refrigerated in the store's packaging at 36o F to 40o F for short-term storage; the length of time it will remain fresh depends upon the type of meat as well as the storage temperature and the state of freshness when purchased. Refer to the chart below for maximum storage guidelines. Refrigerate meat in the store's plastic-wrapped package, unless the wrapping is torn. If the wrapping is damaged, or if the meat was wrapped in wrapping paper, rewrap the meat in plastic wrap or foil.

For longer storage, meat should be frozen at 0o F or below. Prepackaged meat should be over wrapped or rewrapped to prevent freezer burn (drying of the surface that causes meat to discolor). Package the meat in freezer wrap, freezer bags, or plastic wrap for the freezer, and wrap tightly, eliminating all air if possible. Remember to label the packages with the contents and date.


  Refrigerator Freezer

Beef Cuts

Roasts, steaks 3 to 5 days 6 to 12 months
Stew meat 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months
Ground beef 1 to 2 days 3 months
Variety meats 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months
Corned beef 7 days 2 to 3 months
Cooked beef 3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months

Veal Cuts

Roasts 1 to 2 days 4 to 8 months
Steaks, chops, cutlets, ground veal 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months
Cooked veal 3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months

Lamb Cuts

Roasts, chops 3 to 5 days 6 to 9 months
Ground lamb, stew meat 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months
Cooked lamb 3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months

Pork Cuts - Fresh

Roasts 3 to 5 days 4 to 8 months
Chops 3 to 5 days 3 to 4 months
Ground pork 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months
Sausage 1 to 2 days 1 to 2 months

Pork Cuts - Processed

Bacon 7 days* 1 month
Bacon bits 7 days 3 months
Frankfurters 7 days* 1 to 2 months
Ham (half) 3 to 5 days 1 to 2 months
Luncheon meats 3 to 5 days* 1 to 2 months
Sausage (smoked) 7 days 1 to 2 months

Cooked Pork

Cooked pork 3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months



The number one cause of foodborne illness in the United States is improperly cooled food. If you cook a pot of chili to 165F, and let it cool to 140F before placing the pot in the fridge (which is usually set around 38F) it will take between 20 - 24 hours for the chili to cool to 40F.Cooking to 140F destroys most microorganisms, slow cooling allows surviving bacteria to grow.

To speed up cooling time try these tips:

Divide food into smaller, shallow containers. Use stainless steal containers - they don't hold heat well. Stir food as it cools. Place containers of food in an ice bath before refrigerating. Make sure your refrigerator is set to 40F or slightly lower.









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