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How to select fresh meat from the shop? A guide for fresh meat identification

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May it be a perfect romantic dinner or a mundane daily meal; it is best and healthier to stick with fresh meat. There are numerous health issues, which might arise by consuming compromised meat. However, how to tell whether a meat piece is fresh and good to eat? The expiration dates and your butcher might lie. Therefore, here are a few tips to help you choose the right meat.


Choose meat that are fresh and bright. If it has a brownish tint, the chances are that the meat has been in the counter for long enough. Also, choose the pieces, which have uniform coloring. Even if you see a small spot of discoloration, it is better to avoid it. Beef should be deep red and the bones and fat should be white. A ground beef should be bright red with flecks of white colored fat. If you are buying chicken, a skinless chicken should be pink and look wet. With skin, the chicken can look anywhere between light and bright yellow. For fish, the skin should be shiny and the scales should be tight. The gills should be red and not brown. Lamb should be either pink or red, depending on the cut. Even if you see a slight tint of yellow, discard it.


Touch the meat and press it with your finger. If the meat springs back to its normal form, you have a fresh meat. If your finger press left an indentation on the meat, it is reaching or have reached its expiration date. If the meat looks loose and with broken fibers, it is of questionable quality. Fish should be firm and the eyes of the fish should be slightly bulgy. If you are buying shellfish, make sure that the shells are very tight. If you find them easy to crack open or de-shell, avoid the lot.


Fresh meat has very mild odor. Fresh beef has no odor. A lamb or chicken can have a mild gamey scent. If you smell a strong odor, leave the shop. Yes, the smell might come from the wastes discarded but that just indicates poor storage and hygiene. Fresh fish should have a salty smell.

Avoid package

None of the above elements can be tested if the meat is already packed or minced. Thus, avoid buying packed meat. Pick a fresh cut and ask the butcher to mince it for you. It wouldn’t take more than a few minutes to stand in line for a freshly minced meat.

Know your local produce

Is herring fish not local to your region? It is better to avoid them as much as possible. If the fish is only available in another country or state, what you are about to buy would have been fished at least a week before, packed in ice and transported in God-know quality conditions. Do not choose to buy Australian beef in a shop at Trinidad. It has traveled half the world to reach that counter. Buy what is grown in your locality. The best way to buy local products is by sticking with local stores. Do you want a list of all the local shops in your region? Visit wholesale meat suppliers in Trinidad and Tobago.

Read more: Retail Grocery Stores in Trinidad and Tobago

This does not mean that you should buy meat from shops that sell immediately after slaughtering the animals. If the meat is cooked after a few hours from slaughtering, the meat will be quite tough and cooking would make it lose many nutrients. You should buy meat, which has been slaughtered 12-24 hours prior and stored in 10 degree C and not below. 

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