This article will give you an overview of how to tell if ground beef has gone bad and some tips on how to handle beef.
As a person who deals with food day and night, I get asked this question every day: “How can I tell if ground beef is bad?” There are many factors that go into determining the quality of meat and whether it’s safe to consume.
You’ve been shopping at the grocery store and you’re looking to make a delicious meal with ground beef. You get home, open up the package, and notice that it has turned brown or there is mold on it. What do you do? Do you discard of this potentially hazardous food item? Or do you continue to eat it?
Ground beef is a staple in many households. It can be used for hamburgers, tacos, sloppy joes and much more! But how do you know when it’s time to throw that package away? Here are some tips on how to tell if ground beef has gone bad:
Table of Contents
Ways to tell if Ground Beef is Bad:
Perform a smell test
The smell of ground beef is one way to tell if it’s bad. Strong, unpleasant smells indicate spoiled meat and rancidity.
Ground beef should never smell rotten or sour. If it does, it’s most likely spoiled and should not be consumed. The smell is very important when it comes to meat.
This test is probably the easiest and fastest way to determine whether ground beef has spoiled. It applies to both raw and cooked ground beef.
Bad ground beef smells strongly of spoiled milk, ammonia or other bad smells. It’ll also have a pungent odor and will be sticky with slime on the surface when it’s removed from the package.
Mildly rancid ground beef has an unpleasant smell that may come off as being metallic in flavor to some people.
Check the expiration date
The best way to determine if your ground beef has expired is by looking at the “sell by” or “use by” date on the packaging label. These dates will usually correspond with each other so don’t worry too much about them being different.
You can also look for a “use by” date on the package. This is usually stamped in bright red letters and will tell you exactly how many days the meat has before it should be thrown away.
Check the color
The color of fresh ground beef should be dark red or pink. If it’s gray, brown, or green then the beef has spoiled. brown, green, white or grey colors indicate that the meat is starting to decompose and should not be consumed.
Inspect the texture
The texture is important when it comes to inspecting ground beef. If the meat is too wet or slimy, then it’s spoiled. The texture of fresh ground beef should be dry and crumbly.
Slimy ground beef is a sign of spoilage.
How to tell if cooked ground beef is bad?
When you have a delicious, home-cooked meal made with ground beef, it’s important to know how to tell if cooked ground beef has gone bad.
There are 2 key signs that let you know when meat is spoiled and should not be eaten: the look of the meat and its smell.
Tips to safely handle Ground Beef:
- Keep ground beef in the refrigerator until just before cooking. Do not leave it out for more than two hours, and keep it under 40 degrees Fahrenheit/five degrees Celsius at all times.
- Allow frozen meat to thaw on a clean surface away from other food items before cooking or consuming. Thawed meat should never be refrozen.
- Choose a cold package of ground beef that has not been handled by a lot of people.
- Check the sell date and choose meat with as early a date as possible, but no more than one week before its use by or freeze by date.
- When cooking, heat to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit/71 degrees Celsius on all sides for five minutes if you are cooking ground beef in its original shape, or until it reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit/71 degrees Celsius throughout if you are breaking the meat down into smaller pieces.
- Cook to well done and avoid pink areas on your final product for safety reasons. This will help prevent foodborne illness from bacteria that cause illnesses like E Coli, or Salmonella.
- Thaw frozen beef in the fridge or under cold water for no more than two hours.
- Do not use if meat has been exposed to “drip, splash or run off” from raw beef juices that may contain harmful bacteria like E Coli and Salmonella.
- Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water after handling raw ground beef to prevent contaminating your whole kitchen with bacteria and pathogens.
What to do if your ground beef has gone bad
To protect yourself against any bacteria growing in the spoiled meat, you should put on a pair of kitchen gloves. Leave the meat as it is in its packaging, put it in the trash, tie up your trash bag, and take it outside to your dumpster or trash can. Otherwise the meat will continue to spoil inside, making your house smell and inviting flies.
If you are in doubt that the ground beef is bad, then it’s best to throw it out.
The bottom line
Conclusion paragraph: There are many ways to tell if ground beef is bad, so it can be difficult to know which signs mean that your meat has gone bad. Some of the most common symptoms include a slimy or sticky surface and an unpleasant smell. The best way to avoid wasting food by throwing out spoiled meat is to make sure you understand how to check for spoilage before cooking with it in the kitchen. Check out this article on How To Tell If Ground Turkey Is Bad so that you can always know whether or not your meat has gone bad.