Food Safety Issues/frozen meat


Hi, I just took out a package of frozen ground beef chuck.  The Sell By date is 09-01-11.  Even though it has been frozen this long, is it safe to consume?  thank you!

Hi Jeff,

Yes, as long as the meat was continuously frozen, it is safe to use.

Old foods in the freezer are safe for many, many years but the quality of the food will decline with age. Freezer guidelines for the usage of food are based on quality, not safety.  In other words, freezer guidelines will say that ground meat should be used within 3-4 months.  After 4 months, the ground beef will start to have quality changes which may affect the flavor, texture and color of the food,  Again, this is not unsafe, just not as appetizing as younger ground beef. After all, freezer burn is not unsafe to consume, just not very appetizing.

Here's hoping your ground beef is still as good as when purchased.


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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