Tips for Fresh Sausage

Reviewed by Eleese Cunningham, RDN
raw sausage on fork

Brian Jackson/iStock/Thinkstock

To ensure proper handling, storage and preparation of fresh sausage, follow these tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:


  • Always look for the "safe food handling" label on package which indicates that the sausage has been processed safely and will give you tips for proper food-handling and cooking
  • Make sure the sausage is tightly wrapped
  • Select sausage and other meats after shopping for non-perishables and ask to have them bagged separately from other groceries


  • Always handle sausage with clean, dry hands
  • Store sausage in the coldest part of the refrigerator or in the refrigerator's meat bin
  • Use fresh sausage stored in the refrigerator within two days of purchase
  • Freeze sausage in freezer-safe wrap at or below 0°F
  • Eat or freeze cooked sausage within three to four days


  • Wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds before, during and after handling raw meat
  • Use two separate cutting boards to avoid cross-contamination, one for raw meat, poultry and seafood and the other for ready-to-eat foods
  • Defrost sausage in the refrigerator, microwave, or cold water — never on the counter — by using the defrost setting
  • Use a food thermometer to cook to proper temperature of 160°F
  • Cooked sausage should not be left un-refrigerated for more than two hours

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