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How to Recognize if Meat has Spoiled

Updated on July 13, 2014

Though you fear that something is wrong with the meat you purchased several days ago, you still have doubts. Can you prepare meals using it or is it better to throw it away and purchase fresh meat?

Recognizing spoiled meat is quite easy. You will notice some changes in color, smell and texture, which will signal that it will be better to refrain from eating this specific piece of meat. Most of the changes are quite obvious.

These are the main ways to identify whether meat is still good for usage.

The Smell of Meat

The easiest way to recognize spoiled meat involves the usage of your nose. Smell closely and you will instinctively know whether it is still fresh.

Spoiled meat has rancid, unpleasant smell. You will pull away as soon as you get to smell it. Fresh meat on the other hand has either no smell or a slight, fleshy and salty smell.

If the meat is very spoiled, you will immediately recognize the foul stench coming from it. Your nose is your best ally, when testing meat for freshness.

Fresh Meat Color

Fresh meat is red and bright. As it grows old, the color of meat becomes darker. Sometimes, old meat can even turn purplish.

Old meat will also lose the fresh look and its texture. You will notice that it is no longer elastic but rather dry and lifeless.

If the color of your meat has turned green or blue then you should throw it away immediately.


Fresh Meat Texture

Old meat can turn slimy and unpleasant. This is the result of bacterial and mold activity.

If mold has managed to get hold of the piece, it will be covered in thin threads resembling spider web. The texture could also resemble fur. In such instances, your meat is mold-infested and unsuitable for cooking.


Expiration Date and Other Label Information

When purchasing meat, examine the expiration date. This act should become habitual. Meat could get spoiled even before its expiration date comes but the fresher it is, the better.

Keep in mind that fresh meat can survive in the fridge for three to five days. Keeping it in the refrigerator will expand its life to several months.

Never select pieces of meat that appear to be improperly packaged. If the pack is broken or torn apart, refrain from purchasing the piece. Vacuum packs prolong the life of meat, since they keep it safe from contact with air and with all the bacteria that can cause it to spoil.

If a piece of meat appears fine but you still have doubts, throw it away. It will be better to lose a small sum of money than to cause health harm to members of your family. For best results, cook meat immediately after you buy it.


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    • vily_far profile image

      vily_far 3 years ago

      Thank you for stopping by, @juliaslot!

    • juliaslot profile image

      Julia 3 years ago from Bad Bruckenau

      thanks :)