Can I refrigerate pre-wrapped ground beef in its store wrapping?

Yes. In fact, it is recommended. In the U.S., most  fresh (unfrozen) meat and poultry in the retail case is packaged in modified atmosphere packaging.  This type of packaging replaces oxygen with gases such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide that suppress bacterial growth and slow spoilage.  If you unwrap the ground beef, you lose this protection.  In addition, every time you handle the product, it becomes contaminated by air, hands, and contact surfaces. 
Brewer, M.S. and Chapman-Novakofski, K. 2006.  Meat Safety for the Consumer, University of Illinois Extension.
Susan Brewer, Ph.D.  University of Illinois, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Texas Agricultural Exrension Service “Safe Home Food Storage”


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