Informe del Comité Científico de la Agencia Española de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición (AESAN) sobre el establecimiento de fecha de consumo preferente en carne congelada en establecimientos de comercio al por menor

  1. Antonio Valero Díaz
  2. Carlos Alonso Calleja
  3. Pablo Fernández Escámez
  4. Carlos Manuel Franco Abuín
  5. Sonia Marín Sillué
  6. Gloria Sánchez Moragas
Revista del Comité Científico de la AESAN

ISSN: 1885-6586

Year of publication: 2022

Issue: 36

Pages: 209-236

Type: Article

More publications in: Revista del Comité Científico de la AESAN


Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/1374, which amends Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin, introduces the possibility for food business operators carrying out a retail activity to freeze meat for food donation purposes. Furthermore, Royal Decree 1376/2003 currently prohibits thawing, refreezing and freezing of meat and meat derivatives in retail establishments in Spain. However, a draft Royal Decree is currently being processed to regulate certain hygiene requirements for the production and marketing of food products in retail establishments, which will repeal this regulation and establish the conditions under which meat can be frozen. In order to allow meat to be frozen for purposes other than donation (immediately upon receipt or immediately after a maturation period), operators of such establishments must establish its shelf-life. Carrying out shelf-life studies can be complex and costly, so, in order to facilitate this task for operators, as well as to guide the competent authorities in charge of official control, the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) has provided guidelines on the shelf-life period for meat, with the aim of being able to establish a date of minimum durability. Meat freezing and thawing processes produce changes in microbiological, physicochemical and sensory parameters, directly affecting its shelf-life. Following the review of existing scientific literature and recommendations of different institutions, a series of guidelines are proposed on possible date of minimum durability for frozen meat depending on the species: • Beef: 12 months at -18 ºC, freezing immediately upon receipt. Recommended maturation treatments are 14 days at <2 ºC, followed by a 9-month freeze at -18 ºC. • Sheep: 12 months at -18 ºC, freezing immediately upon receipt. The recommended maturation treatments are 14 days at -1.5 ºC, followed by a 9-month freeze at -18 ºC. • Goat: the recommended refrigeration storage can be between 3-5 days at 4.44 ºC, or frozen for 12 months at -18 ºC. • Porcine: 6 months at -18 ºC, freezing immediately upon receipt. No conclusive studies on the maturation period prior to freezing have been found. • Poultry: 12 and 9 months at -18 ºC for whole and cut products, respectively, freezing immediately upon receipt. The recommended prior maturation period is 9 days at < -1 ºC. • Rabbit: given the limited information available, it is not possible to establish a global recommendation applicable to this type of meat. As for thawing, it is recommended to do it under refrigeration, after which the meat must be kept refrigerated and consumed in the shortest possible time. If this is not possible, it can be defrosted in a microwave or by passing it through cold water, in which case it must be cooked immediately afterwards.Finally, it should be kept in mind that, in the supply and sale of frozen meat by retail establishments, it is essential to comply with good hygiene and handling practices.