To destroy these bacteria and reduce your risk of food poisoning, cook ground beef thoroughly and use a meat thermometer to verify that its internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C) (3). Ground beef can be refrigerated and safely eaten up to 2 days past this date (3, 6). Meanwhile, the expiration date — also labeled as “best before” — tells you when the product is likely to start going bad. Well, it depends on your diet and goal. It’s safest to never eat raw or spoiled ground beef. Ground beef may change color due to multiple factors, including temperature, light, microbial growth, and exposure to oxygen (4). It’s important to safely handle and store all types of meat. If you see mold, throw it away. Thaw frozen beef in the fridge to keep it cold while defrosting. Beef starts to change color when it is turning bad. A sell-by date tells the retailer how long a product can be displayed for sale. Here are 4 ways to tell whether your ground beef has gone bad. Fresh ground beef is usually cool to the touch, smooth, and slightly damp. Have you ever brought home a package of ground beef and left it sitting in your fridge wondering if it’s still safe to prepare days later? Outbreaks of infections related to these bacteria occur fairly frequently in the United States (1, 3, 12, 13). Never leave at room temperature for more than 2 hours. These are the signs that your ground beef is no longer good. Touch the ground beef. If it feels slimy, it's starting to go bad. Proper handling and storing are key to avoiding food poisoning from ground beef. You should toss it immediately (14). Here's how to know if you could be affected. Fresh, raw ground beef should be red due to its levels of oxymyoglobin — a pigment formed when a protein called myoglobin reacts with oxygen (3). If you’re opting for weight loss, you might want to choose leaner meats —…. This article presents 20 easy ways you can reduce your food waste. If you don’t notice a funny scent but still see signs of spoilage in color or texture, it’s still safest to throw it away, as pathogenic bacteria cannot be smelled (6). Once it goes bad, it’s no longer safe to eat. Food poisoning can cause unpleasant symptoms ranging from nausea to vomiting. © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. If all of your beef is grey rather than red or brown, it’s best to throw it away. © 2020 Discovery or its subsidiaries and affiliates. However, since grinding the meat exposes more of its surface to air, spoilage organisms have more space to attach to it. Salmonella and STEC are the most common bacteria associated with food poisoning from ground beef. Furthermore, spoilage makes it more likely for them to be present in your food. All rights reserved. You shouldn’t eat ground beef past its expiration date unless it’s been frozen, in which case it can last up to 4 months (8). “These facilities not only comply with required USDA food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) testing, but invest millions of dollars each year to implement food safety steps and test beef products to ensure beef safety,” explains Carr. This doesn’t indicate spoilage. What You Should Know About the Recent Beef Recall, This Is the Only No-Fail Way to Tell If an Egg Is Bad, How to Make a Perfect Burger: A Step-by-Step Guide, The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day. If you want beef to turn back to its original dark read color try exposing it to air for about 15 minutes before cooking. You’re not alone, and this head-scratching issue certainly can make you worry that your tasty meal might make someone sick. ** I am a member of the Beef Expert Bureau which is part of the Beef Checkoff. These Are the Healthiest Cuts to Choose. Your ground beef will turn more grey the longer you keep it. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. If its surface has turned thoroughly brown or gray or grown mold, it has gone bad and should be discarded. To avoid spreading bacteria from one surface to another, wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw meat. Thus, it goes bad faster than steak or other larger cuts (2). Nevertheless, you should throw away ground beef if it has turned either brown or gray on the outside, as this indicates that it’s beginning to rot. Spoiled ground beef develops a telltale rancid smell that indicates it’s dangerous to eat. Spoiled meat smells gross. The smell is caused by the gases produced by the bacteria. Cook the meat thoroughly to reduce your risk of infection. Many people believe that red meat can cause harm. Refrigerate or freeze it as soon as you get home or within 2 hours of purchase. In ground beef, the signs you'll detect will depend on how badly spoiled it is. But ground beef that's starting to go bad can feel slimy, tacky, or sticky. If it is turning slightly green discard it. Choose a package that’s cold to the touch and in good condition, without holes or scratches. Last medically reviewed on December 18, 2019. Is that can of tuna still good enough for your casserole? If its surface has turned thoroughly brown or gray or grown mold, it has gone bad and should be discarded. Is Seltzer As Hydrating As Regular Water? The scent changes due to the increased growth of spoilage bacteria, such as Lactobacillus spp. There are three main ways to tell that ground beef is bad. Fresh ground beef may have a mild iron smell, but if it starts to smell rotten (beef tends to get a funky sweet odor), you should err on the side of caution and throw it out. Call the USDA's hotline. Here are a few safety tips (3, 12, 13): Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling ground beef, and don’t forget to your clean kitchen counters and utensils. Though the scent of fresh ground beef is barely perceptible, rancid meat has a tangy, putrid odor. To determine if your ground beef if spoiled, use your senses. We’ve got you covered. Beef that has gone bad will develop a slimy or sticky texture and smell bad or "off." Any ground meat should be used within one to two days of purchase, and cuts of beef within three to five days. Bad ground beef also usually develops a slimy or sticky feel. The most obvious sign that it's time to toss ground beef is a bad smell. Check the color and expiration date of the meat. Raw ground beef should be bright red on the outside and brownish on the inside. Therefore, even though spoilage bacteria won’t make you sick, you should always discard spoiled ground beef to avoid consuming disease-causing microorganisms. There are three main ways to tell that ground beef is bad. To reduce your risk of illness, you should always cook meat thoroughly and avoid eating spoiled or undercooked ground beef. Beef that is red colored or even slightly brown (sign of lack of oxygen) is generally safe to consume. Here are 23 healthy foods that don’t need to be refrigerated. It may take several days for symptoms to appear. Raw ground beef should be bright red on the outside and brownish on the inside. A few simple techniques, including looking for changes in color, odor, and texture, can determine whether your ground beef has gone bad. Identifying Bad Ground Beef. This test is probably the easiest and fastest way to determine whether meat has spoiled. Sell-by and expiration dates tell you the best time to eat ground beef. Additionally, mold can spoil cooked ground beef, so you should toss your leftovers if you notice any fuzzy blue, grey, or green spots (5). Improperly cooked meat can harbor harmful bacteria. Meat Safety: Storing and Handling Meat, Poultry, and Fish, Top 9 Foods Most Likely to Cause Food Poisoning, Beef 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects, Can I Still Eat It: How to Safely Store Meat, Is Red Meat Bad for You, or Good? How long you can keep that steak in the fridge? Second, the touch test. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea — which may be bloody (9, 10, 11). It applies to both raw and cooked ground beef. What’s the healthiest meat to buy? It's distinct, pungent and likely to trigger a wince when you sniff. If an unsafe product is identified, a recall is issued as an example of the U.S. food safety system working to remove the product from commerce. The interior of raw ground meat may be greyish brown due to a lack of exposure to oxygen. Check to see if it has turned a dull brown or grey. If beef develops a grayish color, that doesn't necessarily mean it has gone bad. Food waste is a bigger problem than many people realize. Ground beef is very popular but highly perishable. Food will have the best taste and quality before this date. and Pseudomonas spp., which may also affect the flavor (1). It accounts for about 62% of all beef sold in the United States (1). *This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist. From freezer and…. Luckily, there are numerous things you can do to tell if your ground beef is spoiled from the time you see it in the market until the time you eat it. Spoiled ground beef is dangerous to eat because it may contain pathogenic bacteria, which are responsible for foodborne illnesses. The slime on the surface is caused by the buildup of bacterial cells. Mandy Carr, PhD, Senior Executive Director, Science, Culinary and Outreach at National Cattleman’s Beef Association, a contractor to the, “proper cooking is a critical step in beef safety.". The most commonly found harmful bacteria in ground beef are Salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC).

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