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Can you freeze meat carcass on last day of shelf life?

Meat Refrigerated Frozen Minced

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#1 Ahmed Ashour

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 07:56 PM

Greetings! I am a food safety researcher. Some meat retailers ask me this question. Suppose we have a carcass that is intended for sale held at a temperature of 4 Celsius for 5 days. On day 5 which is considered the last day in the carcass shelf life, can we freeze this carcass to a temperature of -18 to prevent its spoilage and to extend its shelf life?

Also, on day 5, can we grind the meat from this carcass to be sold as minced meat after adding some salt and other preservatives?



#2 Jose 007

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 04:48 AM

On the Food Safety side you I would suggest that you perform an actual microbial analysis of your meat from the very condition it is stored for 5 days just to check the microbial flora of your meat. I cannot directly say  that it is OK since different retailers have different set of people who have their own mind set in handling food products. An actual microbial analysis on the 5th day done on 30 sampling dates will surely give you he answer.


Quality-wise on the point of view of a food scientist, prolonged staging of meat at chilled temperature will cause its water loss (I think it is called drip loss). Allowing this to happen is not advisable since this might cause lack of tenderness in its final product.


Well, for the last question, you can always grind the  meat, it is your choice but freeze thawing will surely have an impact to the product where it will be applied.  Grindings also will increase the surface area of a specific mass of meat material plus the additional handling before freezing and the thawing before grinding and the grinding per se makes it more susceptible to microbial contamination resulting to high microbial counts.

#3 Scampi



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Posted 30 April 2018 - 02:06 PM

NO NO NO to grinding.....the surface bacteria level will be so high that even if you grind and freezer, the customers will have rotten meat when they thaw it at home


If the meat is sitting in an open retail bunker, odds are it is not at 4C but probably closer to 6 so you've already lost one full day of shelf



The ONLY time you could maybe freeze or grind is vac packed meats......but you should still do micro


What product is only getting 5 day shelf anyway?

Because we always have is never an appropriate response!

#4 Nikolaos Bakaris

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 03:29 PM

Hello Ahmed

Lets say that we are talking about a piece of meat that was perfectly processed, transported and stored to help us focus on your actual question.

Also we should have in mind that freezing a piece of meat stops bacteria reproduction and kills parasites but it does not kill bacteria.

After saying that there are some things to consider here

a) Legality

After you thaw it we would be talking about an expired product which in most countries is not legal. Therefore no matter product safety when you decide to sell or process the carcass it is going to be an illegal product.

b) Product safety

The expiry date is the supplier's commitment that a product is safe up to a specific date if kept or processed in specific predefined conditions (ex storage temperature).

This date is by default stricter than the actual time that is needed for the product to spoil.

The problem is that when you go beyond this predetermined zone you go to a grey area that you do not know up till when it is safe to consume the product unless you microbiologically test it.

You also have to have in mind that after you freeze it at some point you will have to thaw it before consumption and all the bacteria that were originally in the 5-days old carcass will start reproducing and spoiling the product again.

c) Quality

If you freeze the product at a conventional freezer (instead of a blast chiller for example) all the liquids of the meat will freeze slowly, expand and be expelled from the carcass at thaw which will give you a piece of meat of lower quality

d) Mincing the meat prior freezing will as already mentioned bring all the bacteria that were originally only in the surface to the entire carcass. Therefore i would not recommend it

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