Where In The Refrigerator Should You Store Raw Meat? – Spice Melt

Raw meat should be stored in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf, preferably in a sealed container or a plate to prevent any potential cross-contamination. Placing it on the bottom ensures that any juices, which may contain harmful bacteria, won’t drip onto other foods and cause contamination. It’s also essential to keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat items to maintain food safety. Always follow proper food storage guidelines and adhere to recommended temperature settings to ensure the freshness and safety of your raw meat.

1. Keep It Separate

One of the fundamental rules of storing raw meat is to keep it separate from other foods. This practice prevents cross-contamination, which occurs when juices from raw meat come into contact with ready-to-eat foods like fruits, vegetables, or cooked items. To achieve this:

  • Always store raw meat in a designated area of your fridge.
  • Place raw meat in a sealed container or on a plate to catch any potential drips.
  • If you have multiple types of raw meat, store them separately to avoid mixing different juices.

2. Use Sealed Containers

When storing raw meat in the refrigerator, it’s essential to use airtight containers or zip-top bags. This not only helps contain any potential leaks but also keeps the meat fresher for a more extended period. It also prevents odors from spreading to other foods in the fridge.

3. Temperature Matters

The ideal temperature for your refrigerator to maintain is 40°F (4°C) or below. This temperature range slows down bacterial growth and keeps your raw meat safe to consume. Use a refrigerator thermometer to ensure that your appliance stays within this safe zone.

4. Bottom Shelf Placement

The lower shelves of your refrigerator tend to be colder than the upper shelves, making them the best place for raw meat storage. Placing raw meat on the bottom shelf prevents any accidental drips or leaks onto ready-to-eat foods located on higher shelves.

5. Avoid the Door

The refrigerator door is not an ideal location for raw meat storage. This is because the door compartments are subject to temperature fluctuations every time the door is opened and closed. It’s better to reserve the door space for items that are less sensitive to temperature changes, such as condiments and beverages.

6. Use a Meat Drawer

If your refrigerator has a designated meat drawer or compartment, take advantage of it. These drawers typically have a lower temperature setting, which is perfect for storing raw meat safely.

7. Follow Expiration Dates

Always pay attention to the “use by” or “sell by” dates on meat packaging. Consuming or freezing the meat before these dates ensures that it’s at its freshest and safest to eat.

8. Label and Date

When storing raw meat in the freezer, it’s a good practice to label the containers or bags with the date of storage. This helps you keep track of how long the meat has been frozen and ensures you use it within a reasonable timeframe.

By following these guidelines, you’ll maintain the freshness and safety of raw meat in your refrigerator. This not only reduces the risk of foodborne illness but also ensures that your meals are prepared with the highest standards of food safety in mind.

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