Packaged meat in a freezer
Is It Safe To Eat Frozen Meat After It Expires?
Meat remains safe to eat indefinitely when kept frozen at zero degrees Fahrenheit or below, even past its expiration date. However, extended freezing affects its taste and texture.
Freezing protects against spoilage and foodborne illnesses by halting the growth of harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, and listeria, which can cause food poisoning.
When meat is kept frozen for a lengthy period, its flavor, texture and juiciness decline as the meat loses its ability to retain moisture, and its fat content may become rancid.
Freezer shelf lives vary considerably: raw beef and pork last up to a year; poultry, nine months; fish and shellfish, six months; and ground meat is limited to three to four months.
Improper packaging can leave meat exposed to cold, dry air. This leads to freezer burn, which impacts its flavor and juiciness, although it’s still safe to consume.
Packaging your meat correctly before freezing helps preserve its flavor and texture. Vacuum sealing or using airtight containers, in addition to the store’s wrapping, are advised.