Food Safety While Hiking, Camping
Corned Beef and Food Safety
USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the public health
agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for ensuring
that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products
is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.
USDA PhotoFood Safety Information
United States Department of Agriculture
Food Safety and Inspection Service
PhotoDiscCorning is a form of curing; it has nothing to do with corn. The name comes
from Anglo-Saxon times before refrigeration. In those days, the meat was dry-
cured in coarse “corns” of salt. Pellets of salt, some the size of kernels of corn,
were rubbed into the beef to keep it from spoiling and to preserve it.
Today brining-the use of salt water-has replaced the dry salt cure, but the
name “corned beef” is still used, rather than “brined” or “pickled” beef.
Commonly used spices that give corned beef its distinctive flavor are
peppercorns and bay leaf. Of course, these spices may vary regionally.
Uncooked corned beef in a pouch with pickling juices which has a “sell-by”
date or no date may be stored 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator, unopened.
Products with a “use-by” date can be stored unopened in the refrigerator
until that date.
Drained and well wrapped, an uncooked corned beef brisket may be
frozen for 1 month for best quality. It’s recommended to drain the brine
because salt encourages rancidity and texture changes. The flavor and
texture will diminish with prolonged freezing, but the product is still safe.
After cooking, corned beef may be refrigerated for about 3 to 4 days and
frozen for about 2 to 3 months for best quality.
Corned beef is made from one of several less tender cuts of beef like the
brisket, rump, or round. Therefore, it requires long, moist cooking. Keep food
safety in mind when preparing corned beef. It can be cooked on top of the
stove or in the oven, microwave, or slow cooker.