Our refrigerators are a modern-day miracle that lets us store perishable food safely for longer periods of time than room temperature allows. However, there is a limit to how long raw proteins can be refrigerated before they should be cooked.

A refrigerator set to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.44 degrees Celsius) or below will protect most foods. The cool temperatures slow down bacterial growth but they don’t stop the growth completely. So, it’s important to use food in a timely fashion to help maintain freshness and quality. Over time, even chilled foods will spoil.

Here are some of the tips and guidelines that are prescribed by several leading food agencies:

MUTTON:

You can preserve mutton roasts and chops in the refrigerator safely for three to five days by storing the meat at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.44 degree Celsius), advises the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Always make sure that you consume ground mutton, liver, kidneys and tongue within two days. If fresh mutton has turned brown and is sticky when you touch it, the meat may have become spoiled.

Proper cooking will kill any bacteria present in properly stored meat, so you don’t need to rinse your roast before baking. If you marinate the mutton and want to use the leftover marinade on cooked mutton, make sure you boil the sauce before doing so.

CHICKEN:

You need to eat fresh chicken in one to two days after purchase. Several agencies advise against rinsing chicken before cooking it, noting that this does not kill bacteria and may actually spread the germs to other surfaces. If you buy a fully cooked rotisserie chicken, make sure it is hot at the time of purchase. If you want to eat it later, cut it into pieces, refrigerate it in a shallow container, and consume it within three to four days. You can eat it cold or reheat it to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73 degrees Celsius).

SEAFOOD:

You need to eat fresh seafood within two days of purchase and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. While buying fish, only select the pieces that smell fresh, mild, and have flesh that springs back when pressed. Avoid any fish pieces that have mushy spots or have darkening or drying around the edges. Whole fishes should have firm, shiny flesh, and clear eyes. Avoid clams, mussels, and oysters with cracked or broken shells.

FURTHER TIPS:

  • If you don't have time to cook the meat at the end of the above mentioned time periods, just freeze it, as freezing will halt any bacteria growth.
  • If the meat was previously frozen, these timelines go into effect after the meat is fully defrosted, so if a whole turkey needs three days to thaw, you should cook it within the two days after it has completely thawed.
  • Chicken mince is safe to eat for up to a week in the fridge—but should be eaten within two days. It can be frozen for a month, and some lean varieties can be frozen for twice as long.
  • If you are going to freeze a piece of meat, do it early, while it is still fresh. Do not wait until the meat is just about to go bad and then put it in the freezer- that piece of meat is not going to taste any fresher after three months on ice.

Meat is only safe to keep in the refrigerator for a certain length of time, after which you should throw it out. This may be costly, but consuming meat that has gone bad may cause you to become ill. Spoiled meat may have a strange look or smell although tainted meat may appear normal.

You can purchase extremely fresh and hygienic meat, poultry, and seafood pieces at Chikmeat. The company ensures that all your orders are processed and packaged in a clean manner and in temperature controlled environments so that you are provided with fresh meat at all times.