How to Tell if Meat Has Gone Bad

January 4, 2022 7:37 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Eating bad meat can cause food poisoning, which means you need to be vigilant about the quality of meat you consume. How can you tell if meat has gone bad? You’ll first notice a funky smell, followed by a change in the color of the meat.

What does bad meat smell like? And how can you tell if the steak in your refrigerator has gone bad? Read on to learn the basics you need to know.

Why does meat go bad?

Meat goes bad for a variety of reasons that begin at the slaughterhouse. Unclean slaughter or incorrect storage can spoil meat. After the meat has been processed, the wrong packaging, poor handling and time since the slaughter can cause meat to go bad.

Keep in mind that some meats, like sausages and cured meats, can carry dangerous pathogens if they’re kept too long. If these meats spoil, there might not be a smell. Always buy from a trusted butcher to make sure you’re getting the freshest, best-quality product.

What does bad meat smell like?

You should always make a point to smell meat before you cook it, since the smell can indicate whether it’s safe to eat or not. Bad meat will have a sour smell, almost like spoiled milk. It will also turn from its red color to a murky brown shade. If any of the meat in your refrigerator has a strange smell or color, it’s best to throw it away rather than take your chances.

How to store and handle meat after you buy it

The way you keep meat after purchase plays a role in how long it stays fresh. If the butcher handled the animal under optimal conditions, kept it properly refrigerated and packaged it properly, it’s now up to you to keep the meat fresh.

As a general rule, transfer meat to your refrigerator as soon as possible after purchase. If you’re buying ground beef, consume it within 24 hours or freeze it for later.

What do I need to know about food dating?

Food dating is not required under federal law, but some states require freshness dating for dairy foods and meat. Butchers typically refer to sell-by dates provided by meat suppliers. Meat packaging that features a best-before date means that the product will be past its prime condition if eaten past the date.

If there’s a use-by date on a package of meat, make sure you don’t consume the product after the listed date. Health authorities have performed rigorous tests to determine use-by dates for meat, and you should throw out any meats that are past their use-by dates.

Now that you know how to tell if meat has gone bad, you can see the importance of purchasing your protein from a trusted source. Pay a visit to or get in touch with Tony’s Delicatessen & Fresh Meats today to order premium-quality meats that have been packaged, handled and prepared under the strictest of conditions, keeping you and your family safe.

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