In order to ensure yourself a safe beef-eating experience, you need to make sure that you are purchasing, handling, storing and preparing your beef products safely. The following information is adapted from Australian Beef and Meat Safety.
At the supermarket
- Make sure that the beef packages are tightly wrapped and that they don’t have any tears, punctures or leaks.
- Always check the use-by date.
- Make sure the meat is chilled.
- Store your products in an insulated cooler bag when transporting from the supermarket to home and do not leave in the car for long periods.
- Refrigerate or freeze your fresh meat products as soon after purchasing as possible. Your fridge temperature should be 39Fº to 41ºF and your freezer temperature should be 5ºF to -0.4ºF.
- Store your meat products in the coolest section of your fridge. It is best to transfer the meat to a non-plastic dish and loosely cover it with foil or plastic to allow some airflow.
- If you plan to store your meat in the freezer for longer than a week, take it out of its original packaging and re-wrap it in freezer paper or a plastic freezer bag.
- For best quality, beef should be thawed in the fridge for 24 hours.
- Refreezing defrosted meat is not recommended.
For more information about defrosting meat, see this Beef & Lamb page.
- Defrost the meat before cooking. Although you can cook from frozen, it is not recommended as it will cook unevenly which could have an impact on the ultimate eating quality.
- Don’t defrost meat in a slow cooker.
- Store leftovers in a covered container and store in the fridge.
- To speed up the chilling process divide large quantities of leftovers into smaller portions or spread the food out in a shallow container.
When it comes to meat products, don’t forget the golden rule – When in doubt, throw it out.