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So I have a small freezing section in my fridge that reaches -16 celcius (according to my food thermometer). Recommended storage durations are always for -18, but I want to know how long I can store things at -16. Can I safely store raw red meat at this temperature, and if so, for how long?

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It seems that the situation is not discussed much in English-speaking sources. But in Europe, freezers with differently-graded compartments are available. So I was able to find a German-speaking source, https://www.gefriertruhen.org/bedeutung-der-gefrierfach-sterne/.

  • no stars, or 3 to -4 C: 1-2 days
  • 1 star, or -6 to -12 C: 1-3 days
  • 2 stars, or -12 to -18 C: 3-14 days
  • 3 stars, or -18 C: 2-6 months
  • 4 stars, or below -18 C: 6-12 months

I suspect that this chart assumes already-frozen food, since by food safety standards, non-freezer-requiring food can be kept at 0-4 C for 3-5 days, with a few exceptions like ground meat.

Your freezer falls into the 2 stars category, so by these rules, the food is safe for up to 14 days.

Also, you said that this is a freezing compartment in a fridge. In this case, there is a single compressor, regulated by the dial in the fridge. If you value longer storage times over energy usage, and can accept a colder main compartment, you might be able to regulate it to lower temperatures and make it -18 and below. You'll have to experiment if it really would go that far, and also it may have side effects, such as finding frozen food items in the main compartment.

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Usually a few months; make sure the meat is properly wrap, vacuum packed will give the best result for longer term freezing.

https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts

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  • If you thought this were a question for storing in a "standard" *** freezer, you should have voted to close as a duplicate to the canonical storage question, and not answered it. In this case, your answer is simply incorrect, because the link you gave disregards the point of the question, which is about a freezer warmer than -18 C.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 10:48

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