Safe Storage  Handling Tips

When shopping, choose beef just before checking out and remember to check the “sell by” date to make sure it hasn’t expired before you buy.  If it will take longer than thirty minutes to get home, keep it in a cooler until you can refrigerate it.

STORING IN THE REFRIGERATOR:

  • Immediately place beef in the meat compartment or the coldest part of your refrigerator.
  • If the beef you purchased is already wrapped in transparent film, no additional wrapping is needed. However, consider placing it in a resealable plastic bag to prevent possible leakage.
  • 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.
  • In the refrigerator, place raw or thawing beef in a container or on a dish that will prevent juices from dripping onto other foods.

STORING IN THE FREEZER:

Immediately freeze any beef you do not plan to use within a few days. Store it at 0°F or colder. Also, label each package with the date and contents for future identification.

Beef can be frozen in its original transparent packaging for up to two weeks. For longer storage, prevent freezer burn by re-wrapping beef in freezer paper, plastic freezer bags or heavy-duty aluminum foil. Press out as much air as possible before sealing.

Beef Type Refrigerator (35 F to 40 F) Freezer (0 or colder)
Steaks and Roasts 3 to 4 days 6 to 12 months
Ground Beef 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months
Cooked Beef (leftovers) 3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months

SAFE HANDLING:

Utensils, cutting boards, platters - all are important tools in preparing your favorite beef dishes. Yet how you handle these items can make a difference in your safety. Follow the smart tips below to avoid any mealtime messes.

  • As a general rule, keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.
  • Thaw meat in the refrigerator or microwave (at reduced power setting). NEVER defrost meat on the kitchen counter.
  • Carefully wash cutting boards with hot, soapy water or a solution of bleach and water. Some cutting boards can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
  • Wash your hands with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before preparing food.
  • Keep raw meat from coming into contact with other raw foods like fresh vegetables and salad ingredients during preparation.
  • Use separate platters for raw and cooked foods.
  • Wash your hands and all utensils and surfaces with hot, soapy water after contact with raw meat.
  • If possible, use a separate cutting board for the preparation of raw meat, poultry and fish.
  • Do not wait for leftovers to cool down. Store them in small, shallow, covered containers within two hours of cooking.
  • Reheat carryout meals and leftovers to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F and stir to cook evenly.

New Mexico Beef Council - Beef, It's What's for Dinner

New Mexico Beef :: Facts About Beef
New Mexico Beef :: Its Whats For Dinner
New Mexico Beef :: Beef Nutrition
New Mexico Beef :: Beef