Handling Beef

Handling Beef

How do you know if your staff is safe?

Make them ServeSafe! 

Raw Beef

Beef should be chilled immediately after it is received. Since meat freezes at 28F and microbial growth increases rapidly above 40F, it should be stored between 28F and 32F.

Beef should never be held at temperatures above 40F for more than 2 hours because as bacteria grow, beef quality deteriorates rapidly.

The shelf-life of vacuum-packaged fresh beef primals and subprimals is generally reported as approximately 35-45 days, with longer shelf-life of 70-80 days possible when
refrigeration is optimally low (28-32F).

Storage life decreases to 3-5 days for whole muscle beef and 2-3 days for ground beef once the package is opened.

Frozen Beef

When beef is being frozen, the rule of thumb is “the faster the better.”

When beef is frozen quickly, small ice crystals are formed.

Slow freezing produces larger crystals. Large ice crystals tend to rupture the muscle tissues and allow water and nutrients to drip out when the beef is defrosted, causing excessive purge which results in a tougher cut of meat.

It is also important to remove air from the package prior to freezing and to use packaging material appropriate for freezer storage to prevent freezer burn. Beef frozen by the packer or processor results in a high quality product because it is generally frozen quickly at very low temperatures. Beef frozen in this manner has less opportunity for structural changes to occur than beef that is shipped fresh and frozen later.

Beef is commercially frozen at -50F. Once beef is frozen the ideal storage temperature is 0F or lower. Frozen beef should be defrosted at refrigerator temperatures for 15-24 hours. Beef should never be defrosted at room temperature or in warm water. If there’s not enough time to properly defrost the beef, it can be defrosted in a microwave oven and cooked immediately.

How do you know if your staff is safe?

Make them ServeSafe!