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Ground Turkey - Puffed Container

So, I took a package of ground turkey that I had in the freezer, and the plastic cover was all puffed out. I realize that usually, puffed out meat containers are a really bad sign and you should toss it, but I hadnt remembered at the time and moved it to the fridge. Now, a day and a half later, the package is LESS puffy, leaving me very much confused - if the puffiness was due to toxic gas produced by bacteria, wouldnt the package grow tauter with gas while in the fridge? Also, why/how would the package be puffed in the *freezer*?

Update: Upon checking, the two other containers (came in set of 4) still in the freezer are slightly taut with puffiness. I bought these from Costco...

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  1. Many things expand when temperatures are lowered, and decrease in size when temps are lowered. I'm not sure if air follows this pattern, but if it was one of those packages with the styrofoam bottom, with the plastic wrapped top, and a bunch of air locked in, if the package is airtight, when frozen, it would expand the packaging. Matter of fact, I know for a fact I've had this happen to me with those packages.

    2 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      Um.. I remember from Science class that gas expands as temperature rises, and decreases in volume as temperature decreases (which was demonstrated using a balloon).. which is why this is confusing me so much.. unless the meat packaging company injected something into the packaging to keep it fresh and that certain gas acts differently..??

      1. re: MsJunsu

        I have no real explanation then, I was just taking a stab. Perhaps the liquid component which would expand when frozen would account for this issue, in part. Also, I wrote my first sentence incorrectly, the last word should be "raised." Perhaps, if the packaging is airtight, the liquid component from the meat expanded, as it should, which caused the puffiness? If the pressure from the expansion could not escape, but was greater than the shrinkage of the air in the container? Please pardon my obviously perfect technical scientific terminology.

    2. All the ground turkey at my store starts in the case with puffed out containers. Perhaps this is just the way it is packaged.

      4 Replies
      1. re: melpy

        I always notice that the name brand pre-packaged packs of turkey are always puffed out.

        1. re: melpy

          "I always notice that the name brand pre-packaged packs of turkey are always puffed out."

          Same here.

          1. re: mangiare24

            Ditto. All the packages of ground turkey at all our local stores are "puffed out". The meat is just fine.

            1. re: Bacardi1

              Now that I think about it, I would be concerned if it was deflated; that would mean a breach in the packaging somewhere.

        2. Different types of gas or gas mixtures are used to keep the color of the meats bright and increase shelf life. In most cases, you should have no need to worry.

          It's known as MAP...modified atmosphere packaging.

          1. ALL the ground turkey at BJs was packaged in tautly-puffed containers the other week - with the exception of a few where the seal had broken and of course they weren't any good. I don't know for sure, but I assume they put nitrogen or something similar into the packages to help preserve the contents.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Kajikit

              Per our butcher at Publix, nitrogen is used to extend the shelf life of ground poultry, and the puffiness is a result of that.

            2. Thanks so much for the replies! I've cooked & consumed and seem to be fine :)