There’s a myriad of things you can do with ground beef. This versatility and its pocket-friendly nature are a few of the things that make it so loved.
Apart from your stove, your next best friend when you make a ground beef purchase is your fridge. It is efficient in storing your ground beef, but for how long?
For your ground beef, the fridge is temporary storage. Fresh ground beef should be used in 24 – 48 hours after purchase.
Let’s take a look at what happens when you keep raw ground beef in the fridge for seven days.
What happens when you keep raw ground beef in the fridge for seven days?
A rule of thumb when it comes to ground beef preservation is to only store it in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. When it goes beyond two days of storage, your ground beef is at risk of developing certain problems. Keeping your raw ground beef in the fridge for seven days should never be an option.
Here are some things you should expect if you leave your raw ground beef in the fridge for seven days:
- A change in its color from bright red to grey or brown, (signals that the meat is already in the process of getting spoilt).
- It assumes a slimy or sticky texture.
- It may have a strong odor. Good ground beef should not have strong odor of any kind.
- It may expire. Check the expiry date on the packaging.
If you shouldn’t leave your raw ground beef in the fridge for seven days, how many days is ideal?
How long can you keep ground beef in the fridge?
Between 1-2 days. We recommend that you preserve your raw ground beef in the fridge for not more than 2 days. If your raw ground beef goes beyond two days in your fridge, it may start to go through the spoiling process and you may begin to notice some of the features that were mentioned in the previous paragraph, and will also be talked about in more detail later on.
Is raw meat still good after a week in the fridge?
It is not. Raw meat can be ideally stored in the fridge for 3 – 5 days. Anything after that is just setting the meat up for spoilage. A week in the fridge may not be the best of ideas. The only exceptions to this rule are ground meat and offal such as liver or kidney.
Different types of raw meat have varying degrees of shelf life before cooking or freezing, so it is necessary to get familiar with the shelf life of the raw meat you are interested in preserving. Here’s the shelf life of the two basic types of raw meat:
- Raw ground meat like ground pork, lamb, beef, hamburger, ground poultry, venison, and veal can be kept in the fridge for only 1 to 2 days. Leaving raw ground meat in the fridge for a week may do the beef more harm than good.
- Longer cuts of raw meat like long steak, roast, or chops can be kept in the fridge for 3 – 5 days and the freezer for 4 – 12 months.
How to know if ground beef is bad?
Look out for color change
Ground beef may develop a change of color as it starts to spoil. Ground beef may change from a bright red hue on the outside and brown on the inside. When the surface turns thoroughly brown, grey, or starts to develop mold, there is a chance that the ground beef has gone bad and needs to be thrown out.
Get a feel of the texture
Another way to inspect your ground beef to know if it is bad is to feel its texture. Fresh ground beef feels firm to the touch and disintegrates when squeezed.
If you have done a touch test on your ground beef and it feels slimy or sticky, this is a sign that it is going bad and should not be eaten.
Conduct a smell test
A smell test is probably the most generic way to check for food spoilage. You can check your ground beef for spoilage by taking a quick whiff of its smell. Fresh ground beef smells raw and fleshy while ground beef that has begun to go bad will develop a putrid odor. If you don’t notice any funny odors but you notice signs of spoilage in either texture or color, you might want to throw it out still.
Check the expiry date
Sell-by and expiry dates are also great ways to know if your ground beef is going bad. A sell-by date helps a retailer identify how long a product can be displayed for sale. Ground beef is safe to be refrigerated up to 2 days after this date.
Meanwhile, the best before or expiration date on the packaging of the ground beef gives you an idea of when the ground beef is likely to start spoiling. You should avoid eating ground beef that’s past its expiration date as this could cause problems for you.
Read also: Does Teriyaki Sauce Need to Be Refrigerated?
What happens if you eat bad ground beef?
If you eat bad ground beef, you may ingest pathogenic bacteria like salmonella and E. coli (STEC) that cause foodborne sicknesses. Symptoms experienced may include vomiting, fever, dehydration, nausea, diarrhea (which may be bloody), and stomach cramps.