Handling and Storage
- When shopping, pick up beef just before checking out. Only put refrigerated beef in your cart if it’s very cold to the touch. Frozen beef should be solid as a rock. If it will take longer than 30 minutes to get your purchase home, keep your beef in a cooler.
- Remember to check the “sell by” date to make sure it hasn’t expired before you buy.
- For beef stored in the refrigerator, be sure to follow the “use by” information on package labels. If you can’t remember when a food item was placed there, throw it out.
- Use refrigerated beef steaks and roasts within 3 to 5 days of purchase. All fresh ground beef should be used within 1 to 2 days of purchase.
- If fresh beef will not be used before the expiration date, place tightly wrapped beef in your freezer on the bottom shelf. You can freeze beef in its original transparent wrap up to two weeks. For longer storage, wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil or place in plastic freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible.
- But before putting any beef in the freezer, label each package with the date, name of beef cut and weight or number of servings. This will help you follow the “first in, first out” rule: use the beef with the earliest date first.
- Use a refrigerator and freezer thermometer to ensure that your refrigerator is at or below 40°F, and your freezer is at or below 0°F.
- In the refrigerator, place raw or thawing beef in a container or on a dish that will prevent juices from dripping onto other foods.
Download "Refrigerator and Freezer" Guidelines