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Food Safety Issues/Frozen cryovac food in the fridge

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Question
How long will frozen and cryovaced food (both cooked and uncooked) last once its placed in the refrigerator? We're going camping for several weeks and have a 12 volt fridge but no freezer. I have a lot of pre-cooked and cryovaced meals in the freezer as well as raw meat which has been frozen and cryovaced. Does freezing shorten the shelf life once the meals are thawed in their vacuum sealed packet?

Answer
Hi Sandra,

Fist -- Freezing does not shorten the shelf life of foods that are thawed in the refrigerator.  Freezing extends foods shelf life by "stopping the clock" on food spoilage and food born illness microorganisms that cause food to become unsafe/unappealing to consume.

Now to your question about how long frozen cooked and uncooked foods that have been vacuum packed can be safely placed in a refrigerator -- It depends upon the food and whether it is cooked or raw and if the vacuum sealing was properly done.

Thawed cooked foods that are not vacuum sealed are recommended to use within 3-4 days.  Vacuum sealing would increase this up to a 10-12 days.  Raw meat and poultry products such as ground beef and chicken parts are recommended to refrigerate 1-2 days.  With vacuum sealing this would increase to 1 week.  Raw whole muscle meat, normally 3-5 days in a refrigerator, would increase to 10-12 days vacuum sealed.

Is it not possible to take a freezer chest with the vacuum sealed foods packed in crushed ice?  This would give you at least an extra 3-4 days of frozen product before it would need to be placed in the refrigerator.

Hope you have a great camping trip.

Carol  

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Carol Schlitt

Expertise

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

Experience

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 - www.safeandsavorysolution.com

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

Education/Credentials
BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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