Author Topic: How is lamb imported from NZ to US without being frozen?  (Read 1000 times)

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Offline Common One

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How is lamb imported from NZ to US without being frozen?
« on: December 22, 2017, 11:30:18 am »
The butcher at Whole Foods told me today that the 100% grass-fed lamb on display from New Zealand is always fresh (never frozen.)

Can I assume that to be true? Does anyone here have any experience working at Whole Foods and know for sure?

ALSO...

How exactly does the import process work in regard to fresh meat, when coming to the US from NZ?

Several articles I've found reference "chilled" meat vs. "frozen." I'm interested in learning more about exactly how the lamb (when "chilled") makes its way across the world, and how long that takes, etc...


Offline RogueFarmer

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Re: How is lamb imported from NZ to US without being frozen?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2017, 12:17:08 pm »
It's totally possible. Beef can be held over for 3 weeks before being frozen or even longer. NZ government heavily subsidizes their airlines to facilitate exportation of their products as they have 7 cows and 300 sheep for every man woman and child in the country unless the statistics have shifted.

Offline Common One

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Re: How is lamb imported from NZ to US without being frozen?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2017, 06:00:46 pm »
Thanks for your reply. NZ is becoming The Land of Sheep in my mind :) 

After submitting my original post, I found this informative .pdf about what the actual process might look like, step by step:

(The forum isn't allowing me to post "external links," so make sure to close the gap between the "www" and the rest of the link...

www. mia.co.nz/assets/Uploads/mia-chilled-lamb-f-web.pdf

Even though it doesn't name specific farms/producers, it seems safe to assume that the NZ export market (in regard to lamb) operates this way on a general basis.

Interestingly enough, it says: "Chilled New Zealand lamb is generally transported to market by sea..." although, I'm sure various methods of transport must be used (i.e. airplane, as you mentioned) since NZ exports such a high amount of lamb to the rest of the world.

I know NZ lamb is particularly prevalent in the UK (and cheaper than domestic lamb) despite lamb being considered a particularly traditionally British (or more specifically, Welsh) source of food.

Anyway, thanks for replying. I feel better now, knowing that the lamb I bought today was indeed most likely (at least, possibly) "chilled" vs. "frozen," as was told to me by the butcher. At the time it seemed strange/improbable enough to make me question what I was told.

Offline ys

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Re: How is lamb imported from NZ to US without being frozen?
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2017, 01:02:00 am »
I find it very hard to believe it is not frozen.  It takes 2.5 -3 weeks to transport it. In my experience 3 week old carcass dries up considerably even when chilled.  Or if you cover it in plastic it will start getting moldy pretty quickly. In Costco NZ lamb carcasses are sold  frozen.  I don't think it arrives chilled then Costco freezes them.  I think it arrives already frozen.

Offline RogueFarmer

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Re: How is lamb imported from NZ to US without being frozen?
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2017, 01:32:32 am »
At the bison ranch where I worked we stored the steaks in a fridge for three weeks inside their packages before freezing them to promote tenderness and flavor. I personally inspected them to make sure nothing was turning green. The fridge was sealed for the three week period, set to the coldest temperature and was inside a Rubbermaid type container storage unit if I remember correctly the fridge vent was piped out of the box. There is a discussion somewhere on this forum where it is discussed that refrigerated meat kept at a very cold temperature of at least 35 degrees Fahrenheit will keep for months. That said, usually any premium meat product is USUALLY frozen and thawed by the store where it is sold. I have seen some groceries selling the same product frozen and unfrozen and charging more for the unfrozen product!!!

 

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