Six things to keep in mind while buying fresh meat

Meat is a rich source of proteins. Apart from proteins, it also contains an abundant amount of Vitamin B-complex (Vitamin B1 to B12), Vitamin C, iron, calcium, phosphorous and Omega 3 fatty acids that are required to maintain the nutrition balance in our body.

It is important, however, to pick the right kind of meat in order to avail all its nutrition benefits. Here are six tips to help you buy the right stuff:

Check the colour: The colour of the meat says a lot about its freshness. Poultry meat must be white or light pink. Check that the meat does not have a green tinge, especially under the wings. There should not be any bruises or blood clots on the surface. In the case of red meat, it must be bright red in appearance. If the meat is vacuum packed, it may appear slightly brown. This is also good quality meat and will last longer in the refrigerator.

Check the odour: Poultry meat is generally odour-free but may have a slightly meaty odour on rare occasions. The smell of red meat is very specific to the type of meat and there should not be any variance from the typical smell of a goat or lamb. One should make sure there is no foul or pungent odour to any kind of fresh meat being purchased.

Check the texture: For poultry, the texture should be firm and the muscle fibres must be clearly visible. The meat must not be slimy and if you touch it, the fingers should be dry rather than sticky. The meat should not appear translucent and watery when it is cut. In the case of red meat, it should not fall off easily when it is being cut. The fat should not be yellow in colour, as it indicates that the meat is not fresh.

Prefer skinless: The skin of the meat has saturated fatty acids, which are high on calories and can potentially increase the risk of cardiac ailments. Hence, it is always recommended that meat is consumed after removing the skin.

Ensure food safety standards: It is absolutely essential that every packaged meat product has a Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) certified label on it to ensure that all food safety standards are met. This is also the primary reason why you should avoid buying meat from a butcher shop, since there is no guarantee of food safety.

The traceability factor: The traceability of meat and understanding how it was sourced and bred is important to determine the quality of meat. The history and ancestry of the animal are also significant indicators of quality. It is always advisable to check farm to fork details on the package while buying meat, whenever the information is available.

Remember, meat is a great source of nutrition, if consumed in the right manner. Also remember that buying the right of meat is important.

(Dr. Bhuvana K.S. is Production Manager at meat and seafood brand Licious. She can be contacted at licious@the-practice.net)

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