Name: Amy H.
Date: August 2002
I am interested in knowing the absolute BEST way to store
meat in the fridge in order that the least amount of, and least dangerous
kind of bacteria will grow. Basically, my questions are Wrapped vs.
Unwrapped? And airtight vs. ventilated?
Your concerns to store meat correctly in the fridge
are correct, but rather than worry about wrapped or
airtight storage, there are two more important
factors: temperature and time. Make sure your fridge
is 5 to 7 degrees Centigrade in those compartments you
use for meat. Check it with a thermometer if in doubt.
Do not store uncooked meat for longer than 2 days (48
hr) at that temperature, and cooked meat for no longer
than 4 days. These are no guarantee that the meat
would still be ok, though I would not eat meat that
has been stored longer than this. Check the meat
before consumption: a slight decoloring is not
problematic, it is due to oxidation of the hemoglobin
in the meat. More telling is the smell. A faint sour
smell is a bad sign, and would affect taste.
Do not put meat in the fridge warm or hot: leave it
cool first. Finally, treat ALL uncooked meat with
proper hygienic rules: wash hands before and after
handling, wash utensils and cutting board before using
them on other food stuff.
This way you have done all that is sensible to protect
To prevent bacterial contamination it is best to wrap your meat, preferably
airtight. This will prevent spread of bacteria throughout your refrigerator.
However, the very best is to store meat in the freezer.
When preparing your meat make sure you remember to do this step separately, in
its own area of the kitchen and with its own set of utensils. Wash your hands
before and after preparing. And before moving on, bleach the area thoroughly.
Also, cook meat to well done. Raw or uncooked meat always has an increased
risk of food poisoning.
Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives
Update: June 2012