Meat can offer a lot of benefits. Aside from having a rich amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, and Vitamin B complex that are needed to sustain good health, meat is an essential source of protein. Protein is required by the body for various functions, such as immune function, wound healing, and muscle building. Meat is also a good source of iron that is necessary for the production of red blood cells.
While meat is loaded with nutrients and vitamins, keep in mind that they are not made equal. Some of them have excellent quality, while others are on the contrary. So, if you want to reap all the benefits of eating high-quality meat, it’s important to buy it with extra caution.
Before you head out to the market to buy fresh meat, we highly recommend that you read this article first. In this post, you will see the top reasons to be cautious when buying one. In addition to that, there’s also a buying guide that can help you choose high-quality and safe fresh meat.
Reasons To Buy Fresh Meat With Caution
- To Prevent Disease and Contamination
Food poisoning may lead to dehydration, gastroenteritis, and other more severe health problems like kidney failure and even death. But when you buy your food especially fresh meat with extra caution, you will be able to reduce the risk of developing such diseases. After all, nobody wants to put their lives at risk every time they lift a spoon or fork to their mouth.
Fresh meat is also prone to food contamination especially if it has not been handled by the manufacturers or sellers properly. When you accidentally consume contaminated meat, you may end up dealing with E. coli. But, as mentioned, when you’re cautious, not only will you save yourself from contamination but others who will also eat the product.
- To Avoid Tampered Food
Unfortunately, some fresh meat vendors tamper with their products just to make a profit. However, this act may lead to major problems. If you buy fresh meat as simply as picking coins on the ground, you are more likely to become a victim of food tampering.
In reality, however, food tampering is not a punishable offense. Although a food tampering incident doesn’t happen most of the time, it’s important to be cautious when buying fresh meat.
Nevertheless, here are the warning signs you need to watch out for in case of tampered meat products.
- Resealed and opened packaging
- Damaged packaging and missing safety seals.
- Strange flavor and odor
- Dirty-looking meat products
- To Avoid Wasting Money
As aforementioned, not all fresh meat products in the market are the same. Some of them are of high quality while others aren’t. But when you assess the product carefully, you will end up with high-quality and safe meat that will give the best value for your money.
However, when you buy without considering the quality of the product, you’re just wasting your money. Some sellers offer their fresh meat at a very cheap price for some reason. For instance, the products have been on their shelves for a couple of days which is not considered fresh, or perhaps the sellers dyed them with food coloring to make them look fresh.
If you think that you’ll be able to save money by buying such products, think again. There’s a huge possibility you won’t enjoy the taste of weeks-old meat and you will end up throwing it away. Or you may experience food poisoning or food contamination as previously mentioned.
If you want to avoid wasting money, ensure that you’re getting quality fresh meats, such as ones offered by trusted sellers like Grand Peaks Prime Meats. These meat providers have been in the business for quite some time, making them reliable. You can also check their websites to see what they have to offer and some customer feedback to support their claims.
- To Know The Source Of Meat
When you buy fresh meat cautiously, you’ll know where the product comes from. If you can identify where it was produced and grown, you will be able to make a more informed decision in purchasing. This way, you can likewise maximize the meat’s nutritional value, freshness, and quality.
Moreover, knowing how the meat is raised will result in a healthier lifestyle. You can acquaint yourself with local farmers as well as their practices to ensure you’re buying and eating meat that’s free from added hormones, chemicals, antibiotics, and preservatives. Also, you will be able to find local farms specializing in organic meat and they can help you make wiser purchasing decisions in the future.
Things to Consider When Buying Fresh Meat
Now that you know why being cautious when buying fresh meat is important, let’s take a look at the things you need to consider when making a purchase.
- Clean Cuts
The butchering method will determine if the meat is of high quality. Look for a smooth cut that is evenly sized. And if possible, stay away from meat with jagged edges. This is more common when purchasing poultry.
Low-grade meat products aren’t butchered well most of the time. Meaning to say, extra care wasn’t observed in removing the bones and joints.
- Meat Fat
Fresh meat that has white flecks and fat streaks distributed throughout the muscle tend to be tender and juicier. This fat is popularly known as marbling. You should also note that the finer the fat, the more flavorful and scrumptious, especially when served as dinner steak.
Fresh meat should be dense, firm, and dry. The fibers of the muscle should be packed tightly and uniformly. But if the meat looks unappealing and or falling apart, it could be because of unsatisfactory handling.
Moreover, if the meat is sticky or slimy, then it’s not a good option. Remember, this applies to all kinds of fresh meat, whether you are buying pork, chicken, lamb, or beef.
If you’re buying meat in supermarkets, they are usually packed by the manufacturer. To ensure that you’re selecting meat with the best quality, assess the packaging for any signs of dirt and damage. Even though it doesn’t directly affect the quality of the meat, it does give a sign of how it was handled.
So, if you notice dirty marks in the packaging, the fresh meat is more likely handled with the same soiled hands. Similarly, if the packaging is damaged, it’s open to being contaminated with outdoor elements and bacteria.
When it comes to buying fresh meat, some people fail to observe the fridge or freezer storage. This is important because temperature control in a facility is essential to secure the freshness of the meat.
If you feel that the fridge is warmer than usual or there is water dripping from it, there might be a technical problem. It means the available meat may not be so fresh.
Most people don’t like the smell of fresh meat, and that doesn’t exclude meat-eaters. As a result, even chefs find it difficult to establish whether the aroma they’re smelling is spoiled or typical raw meat stink. But odor is one of the best signs in determining if the meat is still fresh. Remember, if the odor is pungent in any way or smells like putrid flesh, don’t buy it.
The ideal color will depend on the kind of meat you are getting. Red meat, for instance, should have a dark color and may vary between brown, purple, and red. If it is brown, it’s still safe to eat. This usually happens because of oxygen exposure.
Pork meat, on the other hand, must possess a light blushing pink color, whereas game meat must be dark brown. You may notice the poultry’s color will somewhat differ. The reason for this is that their diet greatly affects the color of the meat. The colors of fresh poultry may range from yellow to blue-white.
- Best-Before Date
The best-before date has more relevance with the meat’s quality than safety. Through this, the manufacturers are basically informing their customers that these products are at their maximum freshness before a specific date. Keep in mind that after this date, you can still consume the item, but it’s up to the customer to decide whether to consume it or not.
Nevertheless, if you don’t have plans to cook the meat right away, consider buying the product that has the latest best-before date. With this, you will be able to keep it in your refrigerator for a couple of days without worrying about spoiling.
- Use-By date
Checking the use-by date is crucial since it says how close the meat is to become inedible. Make sure to consume meat on or before its use-by date. When this date has passed, consuming it becomes very risky. Thus, like the best-before date, you should also check the use-by date.
Purchasing high-quality and safe fresh meat is very important to ensure safe consumption and to reap all its health benefits. Therefore, when buying fresh meat, it’s crucial to practice caution to get the best value for your money. This will likewise guarantee your safety and those who will be consuming the meat products. You don’t want to risk your health just by eating a slice of low-quality and flavorless steak.