I live in a big city, and there are not many fresh butcher shops here. Meats are found on supermarkets and they are passed by a frozen proccess to be able to stay longer on shelfs. I would like to know how to identify a fresh meat ?

  • 1
    Are you asking how to identity never-frozen versus previously frozen meat?
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Oct 18, 2013 at 20:51
  • Both. Even frozen and never-frozen
    – Tiago B
    Oct 18, 2013 at 21:55
  • 2
    Both doesn't make sense... what exactly are you trying to determine?
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Oct 18, 2013 at 21:59
  • You live in a country that exports beef to all over the world. I looked for labeling requirements in-country. I couldn't find anything that would help answer your question, BUT, if I lived where you do and shopped at places that don't seem slimy, I'd relax. My instinct suggests that your judgement is all that you need.
    – Jolenealaska
    Oct 19, 2013 at 12:37
  • In some stores, meat sits on the shelf while it is tough to identify which is fresh, vs. which was previously frozen but now thawed due to siting on the shelf for a while. Very crucial question for myself, even after asking the manager at the store. Any visual way or touch way to make a sound judgement is paramount. Jul 12, 2015 at 2:02

2 Answers 2


Thanks to science, it has become very hard to determine the actual quality of meat these days. Packaged meat is flushed with a gas that has a high concentration of oxygen (60-85% or so) to oxidize the myoglobin in meat, which keeps the meat red.

What this means is that you cannot visibly determine if the meat is good, ever. It could've been "only" refigerated for a time and then frozen, without any optical change due to the gas that's in the package. Indicators of bad meat, however, are a bad smell (of course, you can only determine this at home) or if the container seems to be under pressure, which indicates that microbes produced additional gas that can't get out of the container.

Sadly, I have given up on trying to find out if meat from the supermarket is fresh or not, as there doesn't seem to be a way of knowing. While still having a lot of tricks at their disposal, going directly to a butcher seems to be the only option that gives you at least a better chance of getting fresh meat.

  • Going straight to the farm would probably be your best chance. With a butcher, I'd at least look for high turnover.
    – Aaronut
    Oct 19, 2013 at 17:47

You can determine freshness by the bloom over the meat and by its reddish or pinkish color depending upon the quality of the meat and type of the meat. Moreover you can check by the smell and touch.

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