Keep it in a bag on the lowest shelf to prevent its juices from leaking. Is that can of tuna still good enough for your casserole? Your ground beef will turn more grey the longer you keep it. 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. If its surface has turned thoroughly brown or gray or grown mold, it has gone bad and should be discarded. 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). All rights reserved. Here's how to know if you could be affected. Outbreaks of infections related to these bacteria occur fairly frequently in the United States (1, 3, 12, 13). Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN**, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. If it is turning slightly green discard it. Here are 23 healthy foods that don’t need to be refrigerated. If all of your beef is grey rather than red or brown, it’s best to throw it away. Choose a package that’s cold to the touch and in good condition, without holes or scratches. Ground beef is very popular but highly perishable. Bad ground beef also usually develops a slimy or sticky feel. Spoiled meat smells gross. Here are the tips you need for cooking the best possible burgers in your own backyard. It applies to both raw and cooked ground beef. Food waste is a bigger problem than many people realize. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. This article takes a close look at mold in food and whether…. If you see mold, throw it away. All thoughts, however, are my own. Healthy animals are the first step in safe beef.” Once the cows reach the processing facilities, there are many steps taken to humanely harvest cattle with a focus on food safety. Be sure to carefully read the product label when buying ground beef. Disease-causing microorganisms grow rapidly in food that’s been left at room temperature and are more likely to occur in spoiled food (6). “No one cares more about the health and wellness of their cattle than farmers and ranchers. But ground beef that's starting to go bad can feel slimy, tacky, or sticky. Additionally, mold can spoil cooked ground beef, so you should toss your leftovers if you notice any fuzzy blue, grey, or green spots (5). How long you can keep that steak in the fridge? If its surface has turned thoroughly brown or gray or grown mold, it has gone bad and should be discarded. However, since grinding the meat exposes more of its surface to air, spoilage organisms have more space to attach to it. © 2020 Discovery or its subsidiaries and affiliates. These 9 high-risk foods are the most likely to cause food poisoning. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day. and Pseudomonas spp., which may also affect the flavor (1). To reduce your risk of illness, you should always cook meat thoroughly and avoid eating spoiled or undercooked ground beef. Once it goes bad, it’s no longer safe to eat. 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? 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. To avoid spreading bacteria from one surface to another, wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw meat. © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. It’s safest to never eat raw or spoiled ground beef. Salmonella and STEC are the most common bacteria associated with food poisoning from ground beef. The smell is caused by the gases produced by the bacteria. 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. *This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist. Though the scent of fresh ground beef is barely perceptible, rancid meat has a tangy, putrid odor. There are three main ways to tell that ground beef is bad. 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). Meanwhile, the expiration date — also labeled as “best before” — tells you when the product is likely to start going bad. There are three main ways to tell that ground beef is bad. A few simple techniques, including looking for changes in color, odor, and texture, can determine whether your ground beef has gone bad. Fresh ground beef should have a relatively firm consistency that breaks apart when you squeeze it. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Spoilage and pathogenic bacteria may both affect ground beef. Touch the ground beef. However, a sticky or slimy texture — either when cooked or raw — may indicate the presence of spoilage bacteria. 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.". It accounts for about 62% of all beef sold in the United States (1). The most obvious sign that it's time to toss ground beef is a bad smell. All rights reserved. Though the bacteria that cause meat to spoil aren’t generally harmful, other disease-causing microorganisms may proliferate when it goes bad. Food poisoning can cause unpleasant symptoms ranging from nausea to vomiting. It may take several days for symptoms to appear. Ground beef is commonly used to make burgers, meatballs, and sausage, as well as tacos, lasagna, and savory pies. “Everyone plays an important role in beef safety – from the cattlemen and women who continually invest in and learn from beef safety research studies, to the various government entities that are responsible for enacting and overseeing food safety regulations and inspections,” says Carr. What’s the healthiest meat to buy? Symptoms include fever, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea — which may be bloody (9, 10, 11). Spoiled ground beef develops a telltale rancid smell that indicates it’s dangerous to eat. These signs could mean that there are pathogenic bacteria like salmonella or E. Coli contaminating your ground beef. You’re not alone, and this head-scratching issue certainly can make you worry that your tasty meal might make someone sick. 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). Never leave at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Check the color and expiration date of the meat.