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Proper Storage

Pork should be stored so that it is kept out of the temperature zone in which bacteria, that causes foodborne illness, grows quickly. The danger temperature zone is a range between 4°C and 60°C. Raw pork can be stored in a refrigerator several days, depending on the type of cut. If it is not to be used within the recommended time, it should be frozen to prevent it from perishing. Leftover cooked pork should be wrapped tightly and refrigerated as soon as possible. Do not leave any pork at room temperature for more than two hours. If cooked pork is not going to be used within three days of cooking, it should be frozen.


Raw or cooked meat can be stored safely in a refrigerator at 4°C or lower for several days. The amount of time that it can be refrigerated will depend on the type of cut, the freshness of the meat when purchased, the temperatures it is exposed to in transporting from the store to home refrigeration, and the type of packaging used.

Pork should be stored tightly wrapped to prevent the meat from drying out when exposed to air. Whenever possible, leave the raw pork wrapped in its original package to minimize handling of the meat. If it is necessary to rewrap, be sure to wrap tightly in plastic wrap, foil or a leak proof bag or place in an airtight container. The package should be placed on a dish with sides to prevent any meat juices from dripping on other foods. The meat should be stored in the coldest section of the refrigerator.

Roasts, chops and steaks can be refrigerated at 4°C or less for approximately three to four days and will remain safe to eat while retaining the quality of the meat. Ground pork and fresh sausage should be refrigerated for no more than two days. Properly refrigerated semi-dry sausage can generally be stored for two to three weeks and dry sausage up to six weeks.

When serving hot pork, it should be kept at a temperature of 60°C or higher and then refrigerated as soon as possible after serving. Do not allow the meat to remain at room temperature for more than two hours. Cool leftovers as soon as possible and store for up to three days in a refrigerator at 4°C or less. If leftovers are not going to be used within three days, they can be frozen and stored for up to three months. Be sure to reheat leftovers to 72°C to ensure that the threat of bacteria growth is eliminated.

  • Check the temperature of your refrigerator with an appliance thermometer on a regular basis to verify that it is maintaining the proper temperature.
  • Store raw meats on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to eliminate the chance of meat juices dripping down on other foods and contaminating them.
  • Chill leftovers quickly by dividing them into shallow dishes before refrigerating. This will shorten the time that the pork is in the danger zone between 4°C and 60°C.
  • If you are not sure whether the pork has been refrigerated for the maximum suggested storage time and you are questioning if it is safe to eat, do not taste test it . Be safe and THROW IT AWAY!



Raw pork should be stored in the refrigerator at 4°C or lower and should be used within three from purchase. Freezing should be avoided if possible because it will cause the pork to be less tender and juicy but, if it will not be used within the three days refrigerator storage time, it should be frozen to prevent it from perishing. Freezing meat has little affect on its nutritional value.

When freezing, the pork should be frozen while it is as fresh as possible to maintain the best quality. If it is going to be used within two weeks of when it is first frozen, it can be left in the original package, but if not, remove it from the original package and rewrap tightly, using moisture proof heavyweight plastic wrap, foil, freezer bags, or freezer paper.

Storage Times
(Suggested times for maximum quality)

Bacon and Sausage

One to Two Months

Ground Pork

Three Months

Roasts, Chops and Steaks

Six Months

To maintain maximum quality, bacon and sausage should be used within one to two months, ground pork within three months, and roasts, chops, and steak within six months. If storing longer, double wrapping is suggested to help keep in moisture. Be sure to wrap tightly against the entire surface of the meat to prevent ice crystals from forming in areas that are loosely wrapped. Ice crystals form in these areas because moisture has been drawn out from the meat, causing the pork to become tough in areas forming crystals. This condition is known as "freezer burn."

The freezer burn does not cause a safety problem but it will discolor the meat in this area and leave it leathery looking. If the freezer burn is left on the meat when cooked, it will be bland tasting and have a very tough texture in the affected areas. Freezer burn areas should be trimmed off before cooking the cut of meat.

Mark the wrapped package with contents and the date so you can be certain of how long it has been stored in the freezer. Pork can be kept frozen longer than the recommended times and still be safe to eat, but the quality of the meat will begin to deteriorate. If the proper freezer temperature was maintained and the product was wrapped properly, it will help to maintain its quality longer.

The meat should be frozen as quickly as possible. The quicker it freezes the better it will be when thawed. To speed up the freezing process, place the package on the floor or against the wall of the freezer since these are the coldest parts. It is always best to freeze and store frozen food in a freezer unit rather than a refrigerator freezer. The freezer units will maintain a temperature of -18°C or below, which will allow food to be stored for longer periods of time. A refrigerator freezer will generally only maintain a temperature of -3°C to -12°C and is opened more often, adding to the fluctuating temperature. If meat is stored in a refrigerator freezer, it should be used sooner than if stored in a freezer unit.

When freezing a large quantity of pork at one time, be sure you have adequate freezer space so that proper temperatures are maintained when freezing. If you do not have adequate space, it may be best to let us freeze the meat properly and then transfer it to your freezer unit for storage. If transferring frozen meat, make sure the meat is not exposed to warm temperatures, allowing it to thaw in any way. Take frozen meat home immediately and put into the freezer as soon as possible.

Freeze cooked pork by removing the meat from the bones as soon as possible after cooking and wrapping tightly using a freezer proof wrap, bag or container. Remove as much air as possible, seal tightly and then freeze at -18°C or below. Store for up to three months.


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