Can I eat ground beef after the use-by date?

In this article we are going to answer can you eat ground beef after the use-by date, what is the expiration date, what is the best-by date, what is the sell-by date, and what happens if you eat ground beef after the use-by date, and how to store correctly ground beef to last longer. 

Can you eat ground beef after the use-by date?

Yes, you can eat ground beef after the sell-by date. Food is usually good after the sell-by date and used-by date but the flavor, texture, and appearance begin to change after this date.

Ground beef is normally sold under pack date and sell-by date. The use-by date is normally found in canned goods, dry goods, condiments, and shelf-stable products. 

What is the expiration date?

The expiration date in the product tells the consumer the last day a product is safe to consume. The expiration date is not in all products. It is required on certain products that have a specific nutritional composition that could change after the expiration date. 

The expiration date is required in some products such as

  • Liquid diets
  • Foods sold by a pharmacist
  • Meal replacements
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Infant formula 

If a product has passed the expiration date, it should not be consumed. 

What is the best-by date?

Best by date or best before date tells the consumer that food is no longer fresh or in the same shape such as texture and taste as when you bought it. It might lose some freshness, taste, aroma, or nutrients but it doesn’t mean that the product has gone bad and is no longer safe to eat. 

The safety, freshness, and taste of the products depend on how it has been stored. So, if the product has not been handled correctly, it can lose all its qualities long before the best-by date. 

What is the sell-by date?

The sell-by date is used in fresh products or prepared products that need a sell-by date as a guide for how long that product can be displayed for sale before it goes bad. They are normally safe to consume after this date but they can’t be sold after this date because they begin to deteriorate visually. 

If you want these products to last, try not to buy products after the sell-by date or they will go bad quickly at home. 

What happens if you eat ground beef after the use-by or sell-by date?

Ground beef after the sell-by date is usually good but there is a risk of food poisoning. Especially if ground beef has not been handled or stored correctly. 

Food poisoning or also called foodborne illness is caused when you eat something that is contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Sometimes you don’t have to ingest the virus or bacteria, it is enough by eating their toxins to have symptoms of food poisoning. 

Symptoms might start within an hour of eating contaminated food. Symptoms include

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

The whole sickness caused by food poisoning can last one day to several days. Food poisoning is life-threatening to immune-suppressed patients, the elderly, pregnant women, and young children. 

The most common contaminants that can cause food poisoning are

  • Campylobacter: symptoms start from 2 to 5 days
  • Clostridium botulinum: symptoms start from 12 to 72  hours
  • Clostridium perfringens: symptoms start from 8 to 16 hours
  • E.coli: symptoms start from 1 to 8 days
  • Listeria: symptoms start from 9 to 48 hours 
  • Salmonella: symptoms start from 1 to 3 days

How to correctly store ground beef so it lasts longer?

Ground beef has to be refrigerated or frozen right after you buy it. According to the USDA, ground beef can be refrigerated or frozen in the original package if the meat is going to be used soon. 

If refrigerated, it has to be used after one or two days and the temperature should be at 40 F. For longer periods of storage, wrap ground beef in aluminum paper and then in a plastic bag and it can be there for about 4 months. 

If you need more information on how to store ground beef follow this link

Conclusion

This article answered can you eat ground beef after the use-by date, what is the expiration date, what is the best-by date, what is the sell-by date, what happens if you eat ground beef after the use-by date, and how to correctly store ground beef to last longer. 

Citation

https://news.extension.uconn.edu/2019/10/30/expiration-use-by-and-sell-by-dates-what-do-they-really-mean/#

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-tell-if-ground-beef-is-bad#:~:text=A%20sell%2Dby%20date%20tells,likely%20to%20start%20going%20bad.

https://www.foodsafety.ca/blog/difference-between-best-and-expiry-dates

https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-do-you-store-ground-beef-at-home#:~:text=It%20can%20be%20refrigerated%20or,plastic%20bags%20made%20for%20freezing.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.