On Storing Meat
To maintain the quality of fresh meats, store them properly. Uncooked meat should be refrigerated in the store’s packaging at 36 degrees to 40 degrees 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, re-wrap the meat in plastic wrap or foil.

For longer storage, meat should be frozen at 0° or below. Prepackaged meat should be over wrapped or re-wrapped 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.

Beef CutsRefrigeratorFreezer
Roasts, steaks3 to 5 days6 to 12 months
Stew meat1 to 2 days3 to 4 months
Ground beef1 to 2 days3 months
Variety meats1 to 2 days3 to 4 months
Corned beef7 days2 to 3 months
Cooked beef3 to 4 days2 to 3 months
Veal Cuts
Roasts1 to 2 days4 to 8 months
Steaks, chops, cutlets, ground veal1 to 2 days3 to 4 months
Cooked veal3 to 4 days2 to 3 months
Lamb Cuts
Roasts, chops3 to 5 days6 to 9 months
Ground lamb, stew meat1 to 2 days3 to 4 months
Cooked lamb3 to 4 days2 to 3 months
Pork Cuts – Fresh
Roasts3 to 5 days4 to 8 months
Chops3 to 5 days3 to 4 months
Ground pork1 to 2 days3 to 4 months
Sausage1 to 2 days1 to 2 months
Pork Cuts – Processed
Bacon7 days*1 month
Bacon bits7 days3 months
Frankfurters7 days*1 to 2 months
Ham (half)3 to 5 days1 to 2 months
Luncheon meats3 to 5 days*1 to 2 months
Sausage (smoked)7 days1 to 2 months
Cooked Pork
Cooked pork3 to 4 days2 to 3 months

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