Food safety is one of most important aspect of any food business. When it comes to fresh meat and seafood, it is important to safely handle and store these to spoilage and bacteria to grow.
Different types fresh meat like beef, chicken and seafood have different rules for handling; some maybe perfectly safe to eat after a few weeks in the freezer while others should be thrown away if unused after only a few days.
To help you avoid food spoilage expenses for your business, here are some guidelines from the FDA
How to store meat in the freezer?
According to the USDA. You should make sure that you're freezing the meat and all other frozen foods at a temperature of 0° Fahrenheit or lower; this is the temperature that keeps food safe by preventing the growth of microorganisms and inactivating any microbes, bacteria or molds present in food.
To prolong the shelf life of your frozen meat, the FDA suggests to keep it in its original packaging overwrapped with an airtight heavy-duty packaging such as foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper so you can store it up to 2 months
How long does frozen meat last?
Poultry – For whole chickens and turkeys, these can last in the freezer up to a year. Poultry pieces, on the other hand, such as turkey or chicken breasts, thighs, or wings should be consumed within nine months while giblets or innards should be kept no longer than three to four months.
Beef, Veal, & Lamb – Depending on what type of meat, these can be kept in the freezer for several months to a year. Raw steaks can be kept for six to 12 months, chops can last for 4 to 6 months while roasts can be kept frozen for 4 months to a year.
Pork – Similar to beef and other meats, uncooked pork can be kept frozen for 4 to 12 months depending on the cut. However, processed pork like bacon, sausage, hot dogs, ham, and lunch meats, shouldn't keep them in the freezer for longer than one to two months.
Fish and Seafood – Generally, the FDA recommends that lean fish such as bass, sole, cod, halibut and red snapper can last six to eight months stored in the freezer. However, fatty fish like anchovies, salmon, sardines and mackerel can last up to 2 to 3 months only. Shrimp, squid, shellfish like scallop and oysters and other fresh seafood should last 3 to 6 months when kept in the freezer.
Ground Meat – It is suggested that any type of ground meat such as beef, turkey, lamb veal or even hamburger meat should not be kept in the freezer past 3 to 4 months.
Cooked and Leftover Meat – Cooked meat does not maintain its quality in the freezer for as long as raw meat does. So before you go ahead a cook extra portion, remember that cooked poultry dishes and cooked fish can be kept in the freezer for 4 to 6 months, whereas other cooked meat and leftover meat dishes (such as beef, veal, lamb, and pork) shouldn't be kept for longer than 2 to 3 months.
How to handle and transport meat?
When transporting meat and poultry, these must be refrigerated or frozen before shipment to inhibit spoilage and growth of pathogens. To prevent unintentional contamination, meat should be transported as quickly as possible to guarantee its freshness. Frozen meat for example can be transported to all over the world but fresh meat products have a limited shelf life of 2 days.
To ensure food safety during transportation, you or your wholesale meat distributor should make sure that poultry meat should be and kept at temperatures below 4˚C or 40˚F. Meat and meat products should be packed properly in boxes or crates, without any leaks or packaging damages before shipping.
Avoid the hassle and potential risks by working with Northern Lakes Foods, one of the leading wholesale meat distributors in Michigan. We offer a full line of Center-of-the-Plate quality Fresh and Frozen Seafood & Meat items. We are HACCP-approved and USDA-inspected and scored a 95.8% compliance rating on our Food Safety, Quality, and Food Defense audit conducted by the NSF-Cook & Thurber company which guarantees that we only offer the best produce at the best price for your business.