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.