How Long Does Meat Last In The Freezer (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 4 to 12 months

Despite the season or the country, everywhere around the world, people love to have meat throughout the year. In the long summers, families gather together for the summer vacations and start drilling to barbecues and burgers, like a big cookout with their families. When the entire family is present, the food will certainly start overflowing and leftovers will start piling up at the end of the day. Storing leftovers is based on the ingredients used in the dish, the climatic conditions and temperature, and where the dishes are stored.

It is important to store food properly, or else, when stale food is consumed, it can lead to food poisoning and other food-borne illnesses, due to the bacteria growing on them. Let it be at home or a restaurant, the leftovers must be stored under the right conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 48 million people undergo food poisoning due to eating spoilt food. There are multiple reasons why a dish goes bad, especially meat.

Meat is specifically susceptible to bacteria and it is best to store them in freezers. Meat can be stored in the freezers for around 3 months to a year without going bad.

How Long Does Meat Last In The Freezer

How Long Does Meat Last In The Freezer?

Type of meatTime
Ground meat and ground poultry3 to 4 months
Fresh meat like pork, lamb, veal, and beef4 to 12 months
Fresh Poultry9 to 12 months

The time was narrowed down by many health organizations and they have also given many tips and ideas on how to store meat the right way and make them last longer.

The U.S Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration have found out two different types of bacteria and pathogens that grow wildly on food, cooked or raw, fresh or stale. Pathogenic bacteria are very dangerous because they are the ones who make the food dangerous and cause foodborne illness. They grow on unrefrigerated foods and they cannot be detected easily, since they don’t change the smell, taste, or look of the food. Spoilage bacteria, on the other hand, makes the food go bad.

They change the taste, smell, and look of the food and they are the ones that spoil food, but they don’t actually cause foodborne illness or make anyone sick. Every food, dish, or ingredient has a certain shelf life, beyond which they get spoilt. While vegetables and fruits cause minimal harm when they are eaten a while after their shelf life, the results of eating meat are certainly disastrous. There are different types of bacteria growing on meat and they can affect health in multiple ways.

Why Does Meat Last In The Freezer For That Long?

When one wants a dish to last for a little while, they can store it on the counter or leave it in the open, and it will last for around 4 to 5 hours. When the dish is not cooked and raw, it will only last for a little while before it goes bad.

USDA has confirmed that for food safety, freezing the foods to 0 F (-18 degrees celsius) will inactivate the bacteria, mold, and yeasts growing out of the meat. This is because freezing the meat slowed does the enzyme activity and as meat gets bad faster, it is very important to freeze them. It is also necessary to store them in an air-tight container, so that moisture doesn’t build on the meat. When moisture is built on the meat, the dish will not taste fresh, once they are defrosted and thawed.


It is also important to store meat in air-tight containers because the juices leaking out of the meat can be very harmful to the other dishes inside the freezer. When the meat is not stored in a container, it is important to double the wraps of plastic or foil before putting the meat into the freezer. It is also important to freeze the meat raw and fresh because cooked meat is more susceptible to the growth of bacteria. This will also preserve the nutrients and taste in the meat.

The meat can be refrozen after they are thawed to be cooked. There are different timelines for how long different times of meat can be stored in the fridge.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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