Food Safety Issues/Prime Rib


I bought a 10 pound bone-in Prime Rib Dec 19th.  Planning to cook and serve Dec 20th.  Family got the flu.  It has been in the refrigerator since the 19th. the Best used by date is Dec 23.  Can I cook and serve it Dec 24?  If I freeze it now (today is Dec 22), I won't have time to thaw.  What a dilemma!!

Hi Carol,

Normally meat products do not have a "best if used by date" but rather a "sell-by date." If the date is truly a "best if used by" date this is the recommendation from the packer for the best quality and safe product.  However, if the meat still looks and smells fresh I would not have a problem cooking the roast 1 day past this date.

If the date is a "sell-by" date then the recommendation is to use or freeze the roast within 2-3 days of the date.  Sell-by dates are for grocery stores to make sure they are rotating their product and always selling the freshest product.  Technically you could purchase the roast on that date at the store and still use or freeze it within 2-3 days of purchase.

Which ever date you have I'm confident that if the roast is showing no signs of deterioration (off smell or color) then you would be safe to cook it on the 24th.

What time is dinner????

Merry Christmas.


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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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