Curious Why Frozen Meat Is Considered 'Fresh'

When it comes to buying food, we all know that fresh is better. But with meat, do you always know what you are buying?

Claire from Somerville wrote on our Curiosity site that she has found frozen meat thawing in the fresh meat cases.

She asked, “How can supermarkets advertise “fresh” if it’s been frozen?”

This might sound like a question that would have a simple answer, but it’s not.

Even though most of us think of something freezing when it goes below 32 degrees, the federal government uses a different standard when it comes to meat.

The Department of Agriculture’s guidelines indicate that as long as the internal temperature of the meat stays between 0-26 degrees, it can still be sold as fresh.

It’s when that temperature drops below zero that it must be sold as frozen.

Jason Cherson, a butcher at John Dewar and Company in Wellesley, understands why people get confused.

He says, “For the person that really doesn’t know, you don’t know what you are buying.”

He says there are some clues for consumers. For example, a lot of liquid or blood in the package probably indicates that the meat has been frozen.

Sometimes small ice particles are visible. He also says that color can tip you off. It is best if the meat is a vibrant shade of red, and not brown.

Cherson says the taste and texture of frozen meat can be compromised.

That’s why they don’t freeze anything at John Dewar and Company. He says customers should have a good sense of where they shop, and feel free to ask questions.

© MMX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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