Freezer-burned meat usually ends up in the bin. If you plan to enrol in a food safety supervisor course, here is what you must know about meat storage.
Have you ever rescued a package of meat from the depths of your freezer only to find it shrivelled and discoloured? If there is a layer of ice crystals covering the tough skin of the meat, it is probably freezer burnt. Unfortunately, freezer burn is one of the biggest culprits of food waste in commercial kitchens, so food storage and handling is an essential part of any food safety supervisor course.
If you plan to get your food safety supervisor certificate, you must learn the correct way to store meat and protect it from freezer burn.
What is Freezer Burn?
Sublimation is the reason behind freezer burn. It is a chemical process where a substance transitions from solid to gas without going through the liquid state. If the meat is not stored correctly, or if the bones poke a hole in the plastic wrap, the moisture in the meat will escape and freeze at the surface. These ice crystals will then evaporate without melting, causing dehydration and oxidation.
Almost all types of food products can get freezer burned if stored improperly or for a long time.
Is Freezer-Burned Meat Safe to Consume?
Though it may not look appetizing, freezer-burned meat is safe to consume. But you may not always want to serve it to your customers because of its quality.
Freezer-burned meat usually has greyish-brown spots paired with a withered texture. Even if you cook it, the meat will remain dry and tough to chew. The lack of freshness may also affect its flavour, which is not something you probably want to associate with your food business. This is why every food safety supervisor course pays special attention to the correct food storage techniques.
Tips on How to Prevent Meat from Freezer-Burn
If you store your food products correctly, they can last in your freezer for a long time. So, if you find that your frozen meat is developing freezer burn quite frequently, here are a few tips that can help prevent it from happening.
Wrap Meat Correctly
Most stores pack the meat in a thin plastic wrap, which is not suitable for freezers. It would be best to remove the meat from its packaging and wrap it in freezer paper or store it in a freezer bag. You can also try covering the store packaging in an additional layer of plastic wrap to keep the moisture from escaping the product.
Watch for Trapped Air
Air is the root cause of freezer burn. Therefore, make sure to squeeze the air out of your plastic packaging and freezer bags before placing the meat in the freezer. You can also use a vacuum sealer to remove the air inside the package.
Organize and Label
It is easy to forget about the frozen food at the back of your freezer. If you don’t want your food to go to waste, make sure to label every package and create an inventory, so you know which frozen item you should prepare next. This tip will help prevent freezer burns by reminding you of the contents of your freezer.
To conclude, freezer-burned meat may be safe to eat, but it may not be a good idea to serve it to your customers due to its leathery texture and flavour. To reduce the food waste in your kitchen, make sure to wrap the fresh meat properly and remove the air from the packaging before storing it in the freezer. In addition, you should label the package so it doesn’t get lost among other frozen items.
If you’re interested in obtaining a food safety supervisor certificate and start a career in the food industry, it is the best time to enrol in a food safety supervisor course at the Australian Institute of Accreditation. The food safety courses at the AIA are nationally recognized and 100% online, allowing a hassle-free learning experience.
To gain your national accreditation, contact us today.