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How long can frozen foods be stored in a freezer?

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Keeping food in the freezer for extended periods of time causes deterioration of quality. If the food has not suffered any temperature abuse (temperatures above refrigerator temperature), it is safe for consumption. As foods are stored, there are changes in texture, color, odor, flavor and nutrient content. A turkey stored in the freezer for 2 years is safe to use but will not be the same quality as when it was initially frozen. The colder the freezer temperature the longer the quality of a food will remain high. Non-fluctuating freezer temperature maintains high quality products. PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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