How to Store Ground Beef Safely


Ground beef plays a starring role in everything from holiday barbeques to everyday dinners. Here are some tips to help you safely enjoy this versatile meat.

Storing fresh ground beef:

         Keep refrigerated and use or freeze within 1 to 2 days of purchase.

         It’s okay to keep the ground beef in its original store packaging when refrigerating; do not open the package until you’re ready to use it.

         You can also freeze ground beef —  use within 3 to 4 months for best quality.

Thawing frozen ground beef:

         You’ve got three safe choices for thawing ground beef: in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. (Check here for detailed instructions.)

         Once thawed, ground beef will keep for an additional 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator before using.

Can you refreeze thawed ground beef? 

         Yes — as long as you thawed it in the refrigerator. If that’s the case, you can safely refreeze the ground beef within 1 to 2 days of thawing it.  

         If you had thawed the ground beef in the microwave or in cold water, you should cook the ground beef before refreezing.

Storing cooked ground beef:

         Refrigerate cooked ground beef within two hours of preparing. Use or freeze within 3 to 5 days.

For more information on ground beef safety and storage, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service Web site.

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