The Dos and Don'ts of Shopping for Meat at the Supermarket

Follow these tips to be sure you're taking home a choice piece of meat.

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Shopping for Meat


delicatessen kept on shelves in a supermarket

Photo by: Ciaran Griffin ©(c) Ciaran Griffin

Ciaran Griffin, (c) Ciaran Griffin

delicatessen kept on shelves in a supermarket

DO get to know your butcher.

Not only are you more likely to learn what's fresh or a great deal, you might score a butcher willing to go the extra mile by freshly grinding a large cut of meat (ground meat dries out quickly because there's more surface area) or portion a roast on sale into individual steaks.

DO make the meat counter the last stop.

Don't let these highly perishables sit around in a shopping cart when strolling through the aisles. The more time meat spends at room temperature, the more likely unsafe bacterial growth can occur.

DO skip a package that isn't cold to the touch.

All raw meat products need to be held in cool enough temperatures to ward off any safety concerns. If it's not cold, it's not worth the risk.

DON'T select a package containing excessive juices.

Pools of pink- or red-tinged juices sealed in a package may be a sign of improper or prolonged storage.

DO place raw meat packages in plastic produce bags. 

This will prevent any leaky juices from contaminating other foods and products in your cart.

DO check the date on the package. 

If the sell-by date is quickly approaching, be prepared to freeze the meat or eat it right away. And check the packages of meat that are stacked underneath and out of reach — most supermarkets stack items with earlier sell-by dates on top and toward the front, where they're more likely to be picked up first.

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