Freezing & Food Safety
USDA covers these topics very well on their website at this link location: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/freezing-and-food-safety/
All of our products are packaged using vacuum sealed bags, but an average of 5-8% of all packages that come our of the processing facility can have a poorly sealed opening or micro-breaks along the package wall. This is very common industry-wide, and the reason that you should always defrost meats in the refrigerator in a container to catch any leakage that might occur. These micro-breaks in the vacuum seal can also occur when a package of frozen product comes into contact with another package with a small bit of force, in the meat crate, in your grocery bag or in your freezer.
As explained by USDA in the above link, breaks and tears in packaging of frozen meat, “if you notice that a package has accidentally been torn or has opened while food is in the freezer, the food is still safe to use.” Freezer burn is the only real concern in this situation, and freezer burn is the slow drying out of meat that takes place over time in a freezer where the meat is exposed to the dry air. Freezer burn takes a very long time to develop (usually 1-2 years) in your freezer during storage. If you notice a tear in a package of frozen meat, you should overwrap it with additional plastic wrap. Meat that is freezer burned will lose quality and flavor with a degradation of texture (sections of which should be cut out before cooking).
Temperature & Time
Safe meat handling is all about the amount of time that meat is held under a certain temperature. Frozen meats have an indefinite safe working lifespan. Once moved to the refrigerator, you should plan to use within 3-5 days. Meats should never be kept out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours without putting it into some sort of cooking or curing mode.
It is safe to refreeze fresh (uncooked) meats, as long as you keep track of the time that the meat was in a defrosted state. If you exceed the 3-5 days mentioned above with the meat in the refrigerator, then refreezing it will result in the refreezing of meat that has reached the end of its lifespan and would not be a wise decision. But, if the meat defrosted on your way home, or arrived in one of our packages fully or partially defrosted, then it is definitely safe to refreeze. Same as if you defrosted the meat and decided later that day to change your cooking plans, it is safe to put the package back into the freezer.
There are three safe ways to defrost, two of which we recommend. Refrigerator is the best for quality but it takes a full day for thinner cuts like steak and two days for thicker pieces like roasts. A bowl of cold water (never warm or hot) on the counter will defrost a steak in 30-40 minutes and a roast in about an hour to and hour and a half. You should make sure that the water stays cold and change the water if needed to keep it cold. The larger the bowl of water, the faster the defrost. You can also put the package into a bowl of water and place the bowl in your refrigerator for a combination of faster defrost and water temperature safety.