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Nutritional loss with frozen meat? Let's take a closer look.

October 1, 2021

Miller’s often gets the question, “Do you offer fresh meat?”. This is because there are myths out there that fresh meat is better than frozen meat. 

One big concern is that frozen meat is less nutritious than fresh meat. Let me dispel this myth for you.

There’s a lot of info out about frozen meat. They all seem to agree that, when stored properly, frozen meat has the same nutrition as fresh meat.

According to the USDA, “The freezing process itself does not destroy nutrients. In meat and poultry products, there is little change in nutrient value during freezer storage.” They also note that quality loss is possible, particularly when not stored properly. [1]

According to the Washington Post, fresh produce and meat lose nutritional quality when they sit out at room temp or in the fridge, but this does not happen when frozen when fresh. One reason why is that the freezing technology is so much better now. [2]

According to Cooked Best, proper freezing is very important. Blast freezing is a process where meat is frozen to below 0F in less than 90 minutes. Freezing vacuum sealed foods quickly and to low temps prevents large ice crystals from forming, which deteriorates the quality of the meat. [3] This is also backed by the recommendations of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. [4]

But, those articles are more general. I wanted proof. I wanted scientific studies showing that the recommendations above are true.

I found a study published by NCBI about the effects of thaw cycles on the nutritional value of four Nigerian soups, which all contained meat, fish, or both. They looked at changes in iron, potassium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin, E, and vitamin C.

This study did find a change in nutritional content, but it was tiny, dare I say negligible. You lose 0-10 micrograms with each freeze/thaw cycle. There’s 1,000 micrograms in a milligram, and almost all mineral and vitamin recommendations are given in milligrams. [5] 

I also found a study from a Polish Journal about the effect of diet and freezing of calf meat. This study looked at fats, including omega 3 fatty acids. It found that the animals’ diet had a large effect on fatty acid composition. This is why 100% grass-fed beef is important. But, freezing had little effect. [6]

I read more studies, and all seemed to come to the same conclusion. There’s negligible nutritional loss when you freeze meat.

What’s the moral of the story? Time degrades the nutritional value of meat. But, freezing slows down time.

You’re nutritionally better off with meat that’s properly packed and quickly frozen than you are with fresh meat. This is how we do it at Miller’s Bio Farm.

When you buy fresh meat from a butcher, you don’t know how long it was in the cooler beforehand. And, then it will sit in your fridge for at least a day. Time is not on your side.

It’s also important to note that the highest quality and most nutrient-dense meat you can buy comes from small regenerative farms feeding animals natural diets and giving them plenty of exercise. 

Small farms like this simply aren’t big enough to offer fresh meat, especially with zero food waste. Frozen meat is your best bet when it comes to nutrition.

So, what do you think? Do you prefer fresh meat or frozen meat? If you prefer fresh meat, after reading this article, did it change your mind a little? 

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Marie Reedell

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