DEAR ABBY: My father-in-law was born during the Depression. My question is, what is a safe amount of time to be able to eat meat from the freezer?
We have noticed items that are more than 5 years old that my father-in-law insists are still good, "... you just cut off the freezer burn." We're afraid he's going to poison himself. -- CONCERNED DAUGHTER-IN-LAW, WELLINGTON, COLO.
DEAR CONCERNED: According to Mike Herndon, media spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration, meat can be frozen "almost indefinitely." However, it must be stored constantly at zero degrees to be safe. Freezer burn does not make food unsafe, but may affect the quality.
The following are freezer storage times for quality only: uncooked roasts, steaks or chops, four to 12 months; whole poultry, 12 months; poultry parts, nine months. Also, it's a good idea to check for odor after meat and poultry have been frozen for too long. If there is a rancid smell, obviously, do not use it.