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How Long Will Frozen Meat Stay Fresh?

Many people think that if they stick something in the freezer it will “keep” indefinitely. This is not true.
Freezing does allow people to keep meat longer than they would’ve have. The low temperatures slow down the development of microorganisms—microscopic beings that multiply at a fast, exponential rate when left at room temperature. At very cold temperatures of zero degrees Fahrenheit (or about - 17.78 degrees Celsius (the microorganisms are still present but go into dormancy. The rate of growth is much slower.

But that’s the most important thing to remember: the growth is slower, but there is still growth. So at a certain point, even frozen meat may not be safe to eat. There is still an “expiry” date or at the very least a time when the quality of meat deteriorates and pose health risks. People should be concerned about this. Meat can harbor microorganisms like botulism, E. coli, listeria and salmonella.

So there are some things that people need to keep in mind while storing meat. The first is to wrap the meat well to prevent freezer burn (which affects taste and consistency) and to make sure that the freezer is kept at optimal temperature.

Another thing to remember is defrost meat properly and safely. Meat should be defrosted in the refrigerator (allow a day of defrosting for every five pounds). It can also be placed in the microwave or submerged in cold water.

It is also best to buy meat in the quantities one needs instead of storing them for long periods. For example, bacon and sausages should only be frozen for a maximum of one to months. Cold cuts and hotdogs should be frozen for a maximum of three months. Porkchops, roasts and steaks can be kept for about 12 months, but ground meat should only be kept up to four months. Chicken should be kept for about two months, though chicken parts can be kept up to nine months.

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