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How To Tell If Meat Has Gone Bad?

How to tell if Meat has gone bad? How to tell if Meat has gone bad?
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Have you ever pulled out your favorite meat from the refrigerator and wondered “That’s not what it’s supposed to look like!”, leading to frantic searches for - How to tell if chicken is bad? What does the green layer on my steak mean? My meat appears discolored, what should I do? Or you accidentally consumed bad meat and are now in damage control mode. “What will happen if I consumed bad meat?” “What should I do if I consumed bad meat?”  Well, your search stops here. We have the answers to all your questions right here in this food story. Read on, and you will never have to worry about how to identify bad meat.

How to tell if meat has gone bad?

Simple! The most common indicator is the slimy or sticky texture or if it toughens up a little too much. This stands true for all sorts of meat. But other than that, it’s a 3 step process to make sure that the meat is no longer safe for use.

  • Smell - Spoiled meat has a very peculiar and strong pungent smell which is usually hard to tolerate. If you feel that your meat has a sour unpleasant odor, it’s advisable not to use it.
  • Texture – Does it feel slimy or sticky? If yes, throw it out right away. It’s surely unsafe for consumption.
  • Colour – Now the most common indicator is discoloration, excessive darkening of color, green/black/blue or yellow layer and in case of raw pork, grayish-pink, discard it there and then.

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Here’s a cheat sheet for you:

How To Tell If Meat Has Gone Bad? Cheat Sheet How To Tell If Meat Has Gone Bad? Cheat Sheet

How long is meat good in the freezer?

Have you ever looked at that stowed away piece of chicken in your freezer and wondered – how long does chicken last in the freezer? Well, you are not alone! One of the most common misconceptions about meat is that if it’s kept in the refrigerator or freezer, it can last for at least 3-4 days. Now, that’s true for some but not for all. Let’s have a look at the maximum duration for which a meat can be stored in the refrigerator or be frozen without becoming stale. 

  • Raw poultry/chicken- 1-2 days in the refrigerator. Up to a year if frozen.
  • Cooked poultry/chicken - 3-4 days in the refrigerator. 2-4 months frozen.
  • Red meat and pork- 4 days in the refrigerator. 4-10 months frozen.
  • Beef – 2-3 days in the refrigerator. 5-10 months frozen.
  • Poultry - 1-2 days in the refrigerator. 3 months frozen.
  • Bacon, sausage – 2 days in the refrigerator. 1 month frozen.
  • Deli meat - 3-5 days in the in the refrigerator. Not to be frozen.

Now, that you have learned how to identify bad meat, and also the safe storing limits for different types of meat, you will probably also want to know tips to keep your favorite meat fresh. A little knowledge never hurts!

How to preserve meat to make it last longer?

As much as we love spending a little extra on those exotic cuts of meat, it’s always heartbreaking to see it goes bad before consumption or probably too soon. Here are some easy tips to help you make them last a little longer than the last time.

  1. Freezing – This works well for all kinds of meat but the duration should be kept in mind as mentioned above. You can apply salt and turmeric before freezing as they act as natural preservatives.
  2. Smoking of Fish –It’s said to be one of the oldest and the most effective way of preserving fish. It includes the following steps - salting, cold smoking, cooling, and packaging. To read more about it, click
  3. Vacuum Packing – Pack meat in air-tight bag/container and then freeze it and you’re good to go for a few weeks. This prevents the bacteria from entering in.
  4. Salt Curing – This makes the meat drier, hence, preventing growth of microorganisms on the meat. This can be used for almost all kinds of meat except for Deli products.

Brining of meat – Brine is a mixture of salt, sugar, and water. It prevents the growth of bacteria and is highly recommended as it makes the meat juicier. Cut the meat into pieces and place it in the mixture in air-tight bags/jars. It’ll last a few days longer than plain refrigeration.

Most types of meat have specific bacteria called salmonella and E. coli which forms a layer on the meat if left unrefrigerated or undercooked. It can lead to a disease which causes fever, vomiting, and nausea. Heat from the cooking might destroy the bacteria, but toxins usually remain there, hence, making it unfit to eat. Food poisoning is a common result of consumption of bad meat. Let’s look at some symptoms that may arise on consumption of bad meat.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning caused by consumption of spoiled meat

These usually start showing up a day or two after the consumption of bad meat and shouldn’t be ignored as it can lead to further serious problems if not handled correctly at that time. A few symptoms are – Nausea, Stomach ache, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Fever (sometimes). 

Ok, so you have some of the above symptoms after consuming bad meat. There’s no need to worry because if the symptoms are mild there are household items which can serve as remedies. But always remember to consult a doctor if the symptoms are severe or persist over a long period of time. These home remedies will not help in case of an emergency! 

Instant Home Remedies/Actions that can be taken after consumption of spoiled meat

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): It has alkaline properties which help avoid food poisoning. It is the best instant remedy. Consume 2 tbsp. of it in warm water before eating anything solid.
  1. BasilIt’s called a super-herb for a reason. It not only fights the bacteria you’ve ingested but also removes any cause for infection. It can be consumed in juice form or with honey for best results.
  1. Lemon: Lemon will kill bacteria which cause food poisoning because it has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.  Consume it with warm water for best results.
  1. Turmeric: Turmeric not only fights diarrhea but also has many anti-bacterial compounds. It should be taken with plenty of water as it can cause constipation for some.
  1. Garlic: Garlic is another wonderful anti-bacterial herb. For instant relief, it can be consumed in gel caps or in the raw form.

Consumption of bad meat can be more harmful than it sounds. Always check the expiry date. If it’s past it, leave it. Always touch it. If it feels smiley or stick, leave it. Always smell it. If it smells stale, leave it. If it shows discoloration or green-blue covering, leave it. Your health is in your hands. Be careful what you eat.

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