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Old 06-17-2007, 01:12 PM   #1
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How long does frozen fresh meat & fish last?

I have some various meat and fish in my freezer. (By "fresh" I just meant uncooked, some of it may have been frozen before I bought it.) I have some chicken and salmon that is two years old. Is that too old? How long does this stuff last? Forgive me if this has been asked before.

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Old 06-28-2007, 02:27 AM   #2
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Throw it out! Fish is okay for up to 3 months and poultry generally around 6 months. Red meat lasts longer but I wouldn't be keeping ANY meat for longer than twelve months. There is usually a sticker on the inside of your freezer door outlining how long you can keep various things but it depends on a number of things such as how fresh the meat was when it was frozen and how good your freezer is but seriously, throw that stuff out!
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Old 06-28-2007, 06:24 AM   #3
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Oh my! Toss it, and then burn the pail! Seriously, nothing is safe in the freezer for longer than 12 weeks. Regardless what it is, ice crystals form, breaking down the flesh, altering it's taste and condition. Freezing does not 100% prevent spoilage. It slows it down, but it doesn't completely prevent it.

I don't know what your schedule is like, nor do I know how often you shop. Consider just buying what you are going to need for the week, just enough for 4 -5 meals...and just refrigerate it. Most meat and poultry will not spoil in 4-5 days under proper refrigeration. Plus, you won't have the hassle of proper defrosting, either.

I've always shopped once a week, but when I was younger, I simply threw all the meat and chicken and fish into the freezer, unless I was planning on cooking it that night or the next day. That kind of practice leads to wasting money and food, not to mention discovering unidentifiable items in self-made igloos...
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Old 06-28-2007, 02:31 PM   #4
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YES...please follow Vera Blue's advise.
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Old 06-28-2007, 06:12 PM   #5
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I agree that the meat should be thrown out. That's far to long to be in the freezer. However, I agree with Carole's timeframes for freezing, just make sure that it's packaged in a quality freezer bag (maybe even two). When you thaw it, do it slowly, either in the fridge overnight or in cold water keeping it in its packaging.
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Old 06-28-2007, 06:14 PM   #6
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What are you people talking about?

Do not throw away anything, everything, as long as it has been frozen all the time, no refreezing I mean, is fine. Fish might taste funny because it kind starts tasting like the freezer after while. Well, so can chicken actually. But it is not bad for sure. I just recently made brisket from the meat i bought and left in the freezer 4 years ago. Tasted great. As the matter of fact i have another one and half a dozen chickens from 2 years ago. Everything is fine. The only thing my stuff was in air tight plastick wrap, so it did not tasted like freezer. If stuff is frozen proparly you can keep it for years. It will taste old, kind of old, but it should not have spoiled.

I keep telling this story to pepple many times, when I was in the army we were given meat that was like 20 years old. There was stamps when it was frozen. The new meat goes into storage the old one comes out. So there is roughly speaking 20 year supply in case of prolonged war.

Please do not throw anything away and please do not listen to advise of a person who has never frozen anything for more than few weeks. How are they going to know what the food will taste like. Just watch for frezzer burns, you might have to cut it off.
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Old 06-28-2007, 07:09 PM   #7
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I agree with Charlie. Things don't spoil in the freezer...they just get freezer burn if not wrapped properly. Keeping the moisture in and the air out is the secret. This is where aluminum foil and freezer weight ziploc bags are your friends.
I've cooked beef that's 4 years old, and it's been fine for soups or stews.
Chicken can get a funky taste, but we ate some the other night that was a year old, and it was delicious.
Fish can dry out very fast, so we try to eat it within a few months. Kim freezes his bass fillets in water though, and they keep quite well that way. He found a bag in the bottom of the freezer a while back that was 3 years old, and when he fried it up it was still great.
Vegetables that have been blanched, fruit that's been sugared and frozen in it's own juice, and tomato products packed in freezer bags will last a long time without any deterioration.
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Old 06-28-2007, 09:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieD
What are you people talking about?

Do not throw away anything, everything, as long as it has been frozen all the time, no refreezing I mean, is fine. Fish might taste funny because it kind starts tasting like the freezer after while. Well, so can chicken actually. But it is not bad for sure. I just recently made brisket from the meat i bought and left in the freezer 4 years ago. Tasted great. As the matter of fact i have another one and half a dozen chickens from 2 years ago. Everything is fine. The only thing my stuff was in air tight plastick wrap, so it did not tasted like freezer. If stuff is frozen proparly you can keep it for years. It will taste old, kind of old, but it should not have spoiled.

I keep telling this story to pepple many times, when I was in the army we were given meat that was like 20 years old. There was stamps when it was frozen. The new meat goes into storage the old one comes out. So there is roughly speaking 20 year supply in case of prolonged war.

Please do not throw anything away and please do not listen to advise of a person who has never frozen anything for more than few weeks. How are they going to know what the food will taste like. Just watch for frezzer burns, you might have to cut it off.
For your information, Charlie...I'm certified in Food Safety Handling and Sanitation in both New York State and in New Jersey. I don't give incorrect information here. If someone asks a question that I am certified qualified to answer, I do, and I do it responsibly.
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Old 06-28-2007, 09:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance
I agree with Charlie. Things don't spoil in the freezer...they just get freezer burn if not wrapped properly. Keeping the moisture in and the air out is the secret. This is where aluminum foil and freezer weight ziploc bags are your friends.
I've cooked beef that's 4 years old, and it's been fine for soups or stews.
Chicken can get a funky taste, but we ate some the other night that was a year old, and it was delicious.
Fish can dry out very fast, so we try to eat it within a few months. Kim freezes his bass fillets in water though, and they keep quite well that way. He found a bag in the bottom of the freezer a while back that was 3 years old, and when he fried it up it was still great.
Vegetables that have been blanched, fruit that's been sugared and frozen in it's own juice, and tomato products packed in freezer bags will last a long time without any deterioration.
Food most certainly will and does spoil in the freezer. Toxins that have been produced by pathogens on the surface of food cannot be killed with freezing. The ciguatera toxin, a seafood toxin, cannot be smelled or tasted and is neither destroyed by freezing or cooking. Scromboid poisoning is one of the most common forms of illness caused by fish toxin in the US. This illness produces histamines, also not killed by freezing or cooking.

Mushroom toxins cannot be destroyed by freezing or cooking.

Meat or poultry that is stored in the supermarket package of styrofoam and plastic is not even remotely close to airtight, allowing microorganisms to penetrate the container and contaminate the food. If you rewrap the food, the possibility of cross contamination from hands, cutting boards, counter tops, even a stray hair can also introduce pathogens to the surface, producing toxins that are not killed by freezing. So, your meat that is sitting in the freezer for more than 3 months is festering, plain and simple. It may be doing it quietly, but it is doing it.

I've heard the tired old argument a thousand times..."we never got sick before"....Chances are you did and didn't take overnotice of the symptoms. Even if you didn't, is the price of a 4 year old piece of meat worth the risk?? Really??

Like I told Charlie, I'm proud of my certifications, which I have to renew by retesting every three years. I don't give information that I simply think works best for me, when it comes to food safety and sanitation. I give it, correctly and responsibly.

One more thing...moisture is a vehicle for contaminants, just as bad as the air.
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Old 06-29-2007, 01:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeraBlue
Food most certainly will and does spoil in the freezer. Toxins that have been produced by pathogens on the surface of food cannot be killed with freezing. The ciguatera toxin, a seafood toxin, cannot be smelled or tasted and is neither destroyed by freezing or cooking. Scromboid poisoning is one of the most common forms of illness caused by fish toxin in the US. This illness produces histamines, also not killed by freezing or cooking.

If properly cared for and frozen, chances are in your favor that you will not get sick from food that has been frozen for a long time. VeraBlue is right, however, food can spoil in the freezer. However, regarding the issue of toxins, you're right, they're killed neither by cooking or freezing, but if they're on the food, they're on the food, whether you cook it fresh or cook it after its been frozen. If you buy toxin-contaminated food, you're basically SOL no matter what, and you're in for a bad day.

Bottom line is, ANY food you eat is never 100% safe. There are minimal chances that there will be toxins, parasites, etc. in anything you eat, but the key is minimizing the risk. If you are careful about preserving your food, making sure it is clean, well-wrapped, before preserving then you have a much lesser chance of getting ill.

I strongly encourage you all to look into other methods of preservation other than freezing as well. Try doing a salt cure on fish, or smoke some pork to preserve them. You can also freeze in addition to curing or smoking, 2 methods of preservation on a single food item. Additionally, curing and smoking foods adds flavor, which can be lost when you simply freeze foods, or worse, your food will pick up the tastes of the various odors in your freezers.
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