How do you know if your ground beef has gone bad?

Ground beef is very common in kitchens in the United States. A variety of preparations are made with it, such as hamburgers, meatballs and lasagna. How do you know if it’s spoiled? And how to avoid contaminated meat?

When meat is ground, more of its surface is exposed to the air, giving spoilage organisms more room to stick to it. Also it is more exposed to the proliferation of harmful bacteria.

Bad or with dangerous bacteria?

There are two kinds of bacterialas that cause deterioration and the Pathogenic bacteria.

Spoilage bacteria are generally not harmful, but will cause food to spoil or lose quality by developing smell bad or feel sticky on the outside.

On the other hand, bacteria pathogens are dangeroussince they can cause food poisoning. Spoilage makes them more likely to be present in your food.

Pathogenic bacteria are those that make you sick, cannot be seen or smelled in food, as explained by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

Disease-causing bacteria include: SalmonellaEscherichia coli O157:H7, Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria monocytogenes y Staphylococcus aureus.

It makes it even more likely that bacteria that make you sick will be present in spoiled meat, although they can be in fresh meat as well.

How do you know if your meat has gone bad?

smell and texture

if the meat is sticky, slimy, tacky, or smellythese are signs of decomposition and it is best to throw it away.

Fresh meat has a faint odor, while decomposed meat has a rancid, rotten, and pungent odor. The smell changes due to increased growth of spoilage bacteria which can also affect the taste.


The color of the meat sometimes changes. It depends on several factors, such as exposure to oxygen, temperature, light, and also the growth of microbes.

The freshly cut meat is purplish in color. Oxygen in the air reacts with the pigments in the meat to form a bright red which is generally see on the surface of the meat chopped.

He FSIS points out that the interior meat may be grayish-brown due to lack of oxygen that penetrates below the surface, sin which this necessarily means that is in disrepair.

And at surface of the meat has been put completely brown or gray or has developed mold, most likely it has spoiled and you must discard it.

It’s been in the fridge too long

Meat can spoil even when refrigerated, as it only slows (not stops) the growth of bacteria. Ground beef should be frozen or cooked within 2 days after shopping.


Choose a package that doesn’t have a torn wrapper and feels cool to the touch.

Bacteria can multiply rapidly in temperatures between 40 and 140°F. Refrigerate or freeze ground beef as soon as you can after buying it.

When freezing the meat, wrap it with thick plastic, aluminum foil or special freezer paper. For better quality consume within the first 4 months. write down the date

Preferably, thaw ground beef in refrigerator. To defrost the meat faster you can do it outside in cold water.

To thaw in cold water, place the meat in a plastic bag and submerge it, changing the water every 30 minutes. Do not refreeze raw ground beef thawed in cold water.

Do not leave ground beef at room temperature for more than 2 hours or an hour in very hot weather.

Once cooked, ground beef can be refrigerated for 3-4 days. You can also freeze it and it will maintain its quality for at least 4 months.

Do not eat raw or undercooked meat as it may contain harmful bacteria.

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