The answer is a YES and a NO simultaneously. Then, we shall discuss why and when it is safe to consume 2-year-old meat. At the same time, we shall also see when it is not advisable to consume it and its reasons.
Generally, frozen meat can last for a long time in the freezer, but much depends on the kind of meat you freeze.
Is There A Specific Standard That Says That A Particular Type Of Meat Lasts For A Specific Period?
Yes. There is. Foodsafety.gov, an official US website on food safety, lays down the criteria.
However, the freezing condition is that the freezer temperature should be consistently at zero degrees Fahrenheit or below.
The Foodsafety.gov website states that you can consume ground meats within three to four months of freezing them. They have the shortest freezer shelf life among raw meats.
Fresh meat like beef, veal, pork, and lamb, including steaks, roasts, and chops, last for four to twelve months in the freezer.
Frozen turkeys and chicken can last for a year inside the freezer.
At the same time, cut poultry meat does not last more than nine months.
Hot dogs, opened and unopened, last for one to two months. Similarly, luncheon meat has a freezer shelf life of one to two months.
Raw and cooked sausages last for a maximum of two months, whereas bacon has a shelf life of one month in the freezer.
Hamburgers can last for three to four months in the freezer.
Cured meat has a shelf life of three to four months, whereas the fully-cooked and vacuum-sealed meats last for one to two months.
These are general guidelines for frozen meat consumption. However, much depends on how you freeze the meat and the freezer conditions.
Moreover these freezing guidelines are for quality purposes alone. The frozen food stored continuously at zero degrees Fahrenheit can last indefinitely in the freezer.
So Is It Safe To Eat 2-Year-Old Frozen Meat?
You can eat 2-year-old frozen meat, provided the freezer temperature is continuously under zero degrees Fahrenheit throughout the period. However, the meat’s taste can change after a specific period.
Please note that the meat does not become bad when frozen continuously at temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
But, if there is a power cut and the temperature fluctuates above zero degrees Fahrenheit, we do not recommend consuming 2-year-old meat.
Let us see what the freezing conditions are to understand this aspect better.
What Are The Freezing Conditions?
The US Food Safety guidelines state that the freezer temperature should be consistently maintained at zero degrees Fahrenheit or below. So, what do we do if there is a break in between? For example, there can be a power outage that can increase the freezer temperature for specific periods.
Under such circumstances, the guidelines say you should consume the meat soon. However, if you decide to wait longer, please ensure that the meat is suitable for consumption before eating it. We suggest marking the dates and time of the power outage on the freezing packet to give you an idea.
How Long Can You Safely Freeze Meat?
We have seen that meat does not spoil when frozen continuously at less than zero degrees Fahrenheit. The lower the temperature, the better the meat will remain frozen. So, technically, you can freeze the meat indefinitely, provided you maintain the freezing temperature below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Does Freezing The Meat Kill The Bacteria?
Freezing does not kill the bacteria. On the contrary, it sends them into hibernation. So, they remain alive but frozen. They remain inactive if the meat remains frozen below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
However, they become active when the meat begins to thaw. Hence, a power outage is not the ideal situation for the meat. In addition, the rise in the freezer temperature can activate the bacteria and spoil the meat.
Is Frozen Meat Less Nutritious Than Fresh Meat?
Food experts say that freezing meat does not affect its nutritional value. It can retain its nutritional value until the use-by date specified by Foodsafety.gov.
However, we suggest noting the fat content because fatty meats freeze better. So, we can say that frozen meat is as nutritious as fresh meat, provided you freeze the meat properly.
Is It Safe To Eat 3-Year-Old Frozen Meat?
Meat does not get spoiled when stored in the freezer at temperatures consistently below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
So, technically, you can eat 3-year-old frozen meat. Since the meat remains frozen, the bacteria remain inactive.
Is It Safe To Eat 1-Year-Old Frozen Meat?
Generally, one-year-old frozen meat is safe to eat. However, the Foodsafety.gov website specifies that several meat products like fresh beef, veal, lamb, and pork can last for four to twelve months in the freezer, provided the freezing temperature remains below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Does Freezing Meat Kill Parasites?
Yes. Freezing meat continuously below zero degrees Fahrenheit kills Trichina and other parasites that can harm your health.
However, one needs to follow the government-stipulated conditions strictly. So, we do not recommend relying on home freezing to destroy parasites in the meat.
Does Freezing Meat Ruin It?
Meat frozen at zero degrees Fahrenheit or less is technically safe to eat because continuous freezing renders the bacteria inactive. It also prevents the growth of microorganisms and microbes. So, freezing meat does not ruin it.
Does Freezing Meat Make It Tough?
Freezing meat does not change its texture. So, it does not become tough.
Does Freezing Meat Make It Tender?
Research has shown that freezing meat consistently at zero degrees Fahrenheit makes them 10% more tender, making it easier for consumption.
Does Freezing Meat Affect Its Taste?
Freezing the meat does not affect its taste, provided you freeze it correctly by wrapping it tightly and maintaining the freezing temperature below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Technically, you can freeze meat indefinitely, but it requires satisfying stringent freezing conditions. Therefore, the Foodsafety.gov website has stipulated the ideal freezing period for meat and other dishes. So, if you follow the freezing conditions perfectly and maintain the freezing temperature consistently below zero degrees Fahrenheit, you can safely eat 2-year-old frozen meat.