How to tell if ground beef has gone bad!

by craftmin | February 2, 2018

You wanted to do these enchiladas days ago and you just didn’t get around to it? Is the ground beef you bought still good? Maybe. You can rely on your hands, nose and eyes to find out. You can, however, follow some general guidelines if you feel reassured. Just read on to find out if dinner is still on or not!

Part 1: Determine the quality


Smell the meat. If you have doubts, rely on your nose; it generally does not mislead you. As with milk, you can easily tell whether it smells badly when you take a nose of beef. You smelled it but you’re not sure? Then it’s certainly okay.

  • Any odor that is bad or deviates from the normal odor is a sign that it is bad. Just for the record, the smell is usually acidic. A really bad smell is what you are looking for (or not looking for).
  • For your notes, just because your beef doesn’t smell, it doesn’t have to mean you can eat it safely – and it’s not spoiled. Even fresh beef may contain bacteria inside, so you might regret your usual burrito late at night.


Touch the meat. Does it feel sticky? Slimy? This is a sign that it’s bad. You must have touched fresh ground beef before. Does that feel like it? If not, throw it away.


Look at the meat. Contrary to popular opinion, Rinderhack does not always look cherry-red. In fact, the shops are making great efforts to keep the beef red, even if it’s a little unnatural (brown beef just won’t sell). Beef that turns brown or even grey can still be eaten without problems. [1] But if it turns green, throw it away.

  • Usually it turns brown or grey from the inside. This is due to the fact that no oxygen penetrates into the nucleus, so that the myoglobin begins to create pigments. It is not uncommon to buy meat in the shop, open it and find out that it is brown from the inside. This is a completely normal process.
  • Once again,”safe” in this context means that it is not spoiled. If it’s E. coli, it’s got him whether it’s fresh or not.

how to tell if ground beef is bad


Expose the flesh to the air. If oxygen has been removed from the meat, it may have changed colour. If you let it breathe, you can stimulate the pigment forming myoglobin to rejuvenate. 2] If the flesh remains gray and does not turn red, it is probably bad. Leave it in the air for about 15 minutes before you give it up.

  • Try this only in one last try if you are really insecure. Most plastic packaging nowadays allows a minimum amount of oxygen to pass through the meat (through the plastic film). Unless you have repacked it yourself and closed it perfectly, this shouldn’t be a problem.


Watch the expiration date. This is just a general guideline that lets you know when the seller thinks the meat is of the highest quality. Generally speaking, this means that even a few days after this date is OK. [3]

  • Of course, this only applies if it has been stored correctly all the time. If it was outside, this is not necessarily the case. If it was frozen, it’s good for months.

Part 2: Avoid spoilage of ground beef


If your beef is about to spoil, cook it. Raw ground beef keeps for 1 to 2 days after the expiry date if kept in the refrigerator all the time. But cooked ground beef will last a whole week. So if you didn’t come to the barbecue, cook the meat anyway. You can use it later in a variety of recipes.

  • You just have to make sure that you put it back into the fridge in an airtight container. Any meat that has not been kept in the refrigerator – cooked or not – should no longer be eaten.


Freeze it. To save money and time, ask questions, freeze the beef (cooked or not cooked)! So your meat is still perfectly safe for eating 6 to 8 months later. And no more aisles to the butcher at the last minute!

  • And if you store it at -18 degrees Celsius, it will last indefinitely. It may not taste so good, but you can still eat it without any problems.


You should know how long beef lasts. Here are some general reminder guidelines for next time:

  • Meat that is not kept in the refrigerator lasts for about 2 hours – don’t leave it outside any longer.
  • Meat that has been frozen and then thawed is kept in the refrigerator for one to two days. However, if you have defrosted it in water in the microwave, you should consume it immediately.
  • To recap: ground beef is kept in the refrigerator one to two days after the expiry date; cooked for up to one week. In the freezer for 6 to 8 months. Of course, all this applies only if it is kept in an airtight container and stored correctly.

source: wiki How


Don’t leave it outside. Even meat that hasn’t reached the expiry date will go bad if left at room temperature. Bacteria start to multiply like weeds at temperatures of 4 to 60 degrees Celsius. Generally speaking, you have up to 2 hours in which you can forget the meat when you take it home from the supermarket. However, it is better to avoid this and put it in the fridge immediately!


  • To ensure good taste, you should use ground beef within 4 months of purchase.


  • If you’re not sure, be careful and throw the meat away.