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Storage of offal

Submitted by sat on 29 September 2017

In brief:

Yes, it is acceptable to store offal such as plucks, hearts, kidneys, etc., in the freezer for long periods (months) for future use, however over time there will be a loss of quality1. Generally, meat intended for human consumption is recommended to be stored for 2-6 months2. As offal for dissection purposes is not for human consumption, it can be stored for longer and we recommend only storing for up to 12 months to maintain the quality of the items.

The freezer can be located in a preparation room and it is good practice to ensure that the preparation room is not accessible by students. There is no requirement to have the freezer locked, but it is recommended that appropriate signage is placed on the freezer “No foodstuffs for human consumption to be stored in this freezer” to avoid contamination of food for human consumption3.

It is also recommended that signage, such as “Do not turn off power” should be placed near the power point (GPO) to prevent accidental shutting off of the power. Cleaners, relevant staff and contractors should be aware that the GPO should never be turned off.  In the case of power outage, relevant contact details should be available to arrange alternate storage to avoid the loss of frozen materials.

Other considerations:

References and further reading:

1 ‘Freezer storage times’. Food Safety Information Council website. http://foodsafety.asn.au/freezer-storage-times/ (Accessed September 2017)

2 Australian Health Food. The big chill. Storage times for the refrigerator and freezer. http://www.healthyfoodguide.com.au/articles/2013/march/big-chill (accessed September 2017)

3 Standards Australia. 2005. AS/NZS 2243 Safety in Laboratories, Part 1: 2005 Planning and Operational Aspects. Sydney, Australia.

CSIRO. Handling food in the home. https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/Health/Healthier-safer-foods/Food-safety/Food-handling (Link updated July 2019)