Can you eat beef 2 days after the use-by date?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you eat beef 2 days after the use-by date” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can eat beef that is past the use-by date. Moreover, we are going to discuss different ways to spot bad beef.

Can you eat beef 2 days after the use-by date?

Before deciding whether or not you can eat beef that is past its use-by date, you first have to know what is a use-by date.

The use-by date refers to the date that is marked on the packaging of the perishable food commodities and they refer to the time by which you should consume that food.

According to USDA, you should consume your beef before the use-by date but whether or not you are going to eat a properly stored beef (stored at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit the whole time) that is 2 days past the use-by date mainly depends upon your decision (you should do a sensory evaluation of beef).  

Moreover, when it comes to the use-by date then you can use the beef that is past this date provided that it was already stored properly in the freezer (before the use-by date).

It is worth mentioning that the way you have stored your beef also impacts whether or not it is still safe to consume. 

For instance, if your beef was stored for more than 2 hours at room temperature (or more than 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit) then it is better to discard it as bacteria grow best at 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and there are chances of your beef to be already bacteria-laden in this case.

On the other hand, the beef that is properly refrigerated the whole time at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below can be suitable to consume within 3-5 days provided that there are no signs of spoilage associated with it.

It is worth mentioning that cooked beef lasts longer than raw beef provided that it is stored properly. Moreover, if you want to further prolong the shelf life of beef then it is recommended to store it in the freezer properly.

Generally, it is advised to use your beef within 3-5 days of the sell-by date.

Different ways to spot bad beef

Certain indicators point out bad beef, therefore you should consider the color, texture, and smell of your beef to reach a final verdict whether it is still suitable to consume or if it has gone bad.

Color 

If you can notice that the color of the beef has changed to grey-green then it is the indication that your beef is past its prime time.

Texture 

If you feel something slimy or gooey while touching the beef then it means that your beef has gone bad and it is better to discard it. 

But keep one thing in mind that rinsing the beef won’t help you in this scenario as you won’t be able to get rid of the bacteria. Rather rinsing the bacteria-laden beef will put you at risk of cross-contamination as the bacteria will spread in the utensils and other food items that will come in contact with the water from the beef that has gone bad.

It is worth mentioning that you should wash your hands thoroughly after touching the bacteria-laden beef or else the bacteria will transfer from your hands to any other thing that comes in contact with your hands.

Smell 

If you smell something sour or ammonia-like while taking a sniff test of your beef then it means that your beef has gone bad and you should discard it.  

Thus, you should consider the points discussed above while deciding whether or not you are going to devour a beef that is 2 days past the use-by date.

Health implications of eating bad beef

Beef if on one hand is a rich source of protein, on the other hand, it is also a highly perishable commodity that can be attacked by bacteria quickly which can degrade its quality.

So if due to any reason, bacteria somehow found their way to your beef and have spoiled it then the best thing you should do is to discard it.

The most common case that you can see regarding the consumption of bad beef is the incidence of food poisoning. 

As the beef belongs to the meat group that is a highly perishable food commodity and can have E.coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Staphylococcus, or Pseudomonas present in it which can cause food poisoning that is characterized by abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

Therefore you should immediately take medical help and try to drink as much water as possible so that while the body is getting rid of the toxins in form of diarrhea and vomiting, the water that you drink will protect your body against dehydration that vomiting can otherwise result in.

You can read about the symptoms and treatment of food poisoning here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you eat beef 2 days after the use-by date” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can eat beef that is past the use-by date. Moreover, we discussed different ways to spot bad beef.

Citations

https://www.eatingwell.com/article/80518/do-food-expiration-dates-really-mean-anything/

https://www.quora.com/How-bad-is-it-to-eat-meat-2-days-after-expiration-when-it-smells-good-and-is-thoroughly-cooked

https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/food-expiration-dates-should-you-eat/

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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