The Fresher, the Better. When buying fresh meat, purchase for immediate preparation and consumption whenever possible. Spoilage of perishables occurs as a function of both time and temperature. If the temperature rises above 40°F even for a short time, bacterial growth accelerates. Even if kept at 40°F or below, as the package approaches the end of its shelf life, bacterial growth has begun. When the package is frozen, bacterial growth continues and as bacteria grow and die, gas is given off which eventually causes the vacuum package to become loose and expand. The lesson to be learned is that freezing won’t stop spoilage, just slow it down. And meat frozen at the end of its shelf life will fail much sooner than meat frozen early in its shelf life.