Freezing Meat

Withecombes meat is always fresh unless otherwise specified. The following guidelines are for the freezing of fresh meat. Food in a freezer won't deteriorate and most bacteria cannot grow in it.

It doesn't matter if you cook your meat from frozen or fresh, you can use your leftovers to make a new meal. This new meal can then be frozen, but make sure you only reheat it once.

Freezing meat – “how to”

  • Whilst ideally you should freeze on day of purchase, you can freeze pre-packaged food up to the 'use by' date.
  • Do not re-freeze previously frozen raw meat.
  • You can freeze cooked meat (vegetables and all) and simply leave to cool before doing so.
  • For best results and to stop the cold air drying out your food: place food in an air-tight container and wrap it well in freezer bags.
  • Label and date.
  • Poorly wrapped items may get freezer “burn” on exposed areas. The meat will remain edible but you may of course, wish to remove trim discoloured meat.

Suggested guideline for maximum freeze time


  • Joints, Steaks – 12 months
  • Mince – 6 months


  • 6 months


  • 6 months


  • Roasts, fillets - 12 months
  • Mince – 6 months
  • Bacon – 3 months
  • Roasts, steaks, fillets - 12 months
  • Chops, Mince – 6 months
  • Sausages - 3 months
  • Hamburgers - 6 months
  • Cooked meat – Up to 3 months

Defrosting Food

It is important to defrost food safely before cooking or eating it.

Don't defrost food at room temperature.

Ideally, food should be defrosted fully in the fridge. Large items, such as joints, can take up to 2 to 4 days
to defrost fully in the fridge. Smaller items cold defrost in as little as 6 hours.

Put items at the bottom of the fridge to defrost on a tray or plate to catch any drips and cover to avoid any cross-contamination. Do not place defrosting meat above cooked or ready-to-eat produce.

Alternatively, use a microwave on the defrost setting directly before cooking.

Check the guidance on food packaging and allow enough time for your food to defrost properly.

Make sure your food is fully defrosted before cooking. Partially defrosted food may not cook evenly, meaning that harmful bacteria could survive the cooking process. The meat should be soft to the touch when defrosted.

Once food has been defrosted, eat it within 24 hours.