Is Chilled Meat as Same as Frozen Meat?


Unless you are a vegetarian, you are likely to have pork or beef in your daily meals. However, the widespread of swine fever in recent years has caused the supply of live pigs to become unstable and make fresh pork prices soaring. As a result, consumers have to pay more for fresh pork cuts. Fortunately, there are other meat options, such as chicken, fish, mutton and so on, which are also good sources of high-quality protein. Additionally, there are chilled and frozen meat to substitute for fresh one.


Is fresh pork better than other forms of pork?

Fresh pork, also known as ‘Warm-Body Pork’, is the cuts from pigs usually slaughtered in the early hours before dawn. The pork cuts do not undergo any cooling treatment. The texture of meat is tenderer and less elastic since the carcass temperature drops slowly. Although the pork is protected to a certain extent throughout the process from slaughter to sale, it is a perishable food that becomes susceptible to bacterial growth at proper warm temperature. This poses a risk to food safety and quality control. It is therefore necessary to control and shorten the time in which pork is placed at room temperature feasibly.


What makes frozen pork less appealing in terms of taste and texture?

After the pig is slaughtered, the pork cuts undergo freezing at -28℃ in a cold chamber. When the meat internal temperature drops to under -15°C, these are subsequently placed into a cold storage at -18℃ or below to be sold in a frozen status (-18℃ or below). The water in the pork increases its volume and forms ice crystals during the freezing process, which ruptures the muscle cell structure and damages the tissues. Upon thawing, the fluid oozes out of the cells and the meat becomes less tasty.


Is chilled pork different from frozen pork?

For chilled pork, the pork cuts of slaughtered pig are chilled immediately at temperatures between 0°C and 4°C. The internal temperature of its hind legs maintains between 7°C and 0°C within 24 hours after slaughter. Keeping the pork at low temperature helps to reduce the drip loss of meat, maintain its natural taste and inhibit microbial growth. This keeps the meat in safe, hygiene and preserve of its taste and texture.


In accordance with the regulatory requirements for licencing the retail establishments (fresh meat/chilled meat/frozen meat) in Macao, all kinds of meat for sale must be displayed in a refrigerated cabinet/freezer so as to ensure food safety and quality.


The public should take note of the following when shopping for chilled/frozen meat:

  • Buy food from licenced and reputable shops with good hygiene condition;
  • Pay attention to the storage temperature of refrigeration devices. The temperature range of refrigerated cabinets should be between 0°C and 4°C, and freezers at -18℃ or below;
  • Avoid meat that appears strange or imparts objectionable odour;
  • Do not buy frozen meat products showing signs of softening;
  • Pay attention to the manufacture date and expiry date on the packaging of meat products;
  • Make sure to place raw food separately from other food products while shopping;
  • Take frozen and chilled food right before proceeding to checkout to keep it under low-temperature condition;
  • All kinds of meat are subject to be mandatory inspection and quarantine at the entry of custom. Do not bring meat into Macao from neighbourhoods without permission; otherwise, the involved party are prosecuted by law.