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

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

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

Before deciding whether or not you can eat ground 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 it refers to the time by which you should consume that food. 

Generally, ground beef lasts for about 2 days past the sell-by date. According to USDA, you should consume your ground beef before the use-by date but whether or not you are going to eat a properly stored ground 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 ground beef).  

Moreover, when it comes to the use-by date then you can use the ground beef that is past this date provided that it was already stored properly in the freezer (before the use-by date). Frozen ground beef lasts for about 4 months in the freezer.

Moreover, the way you have stored your ground beef also impacts whether or not it is still safe to consume. 

For instance, if your ground 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 ground beef to be already bacteria-laden in this case.

On the other hand, the ground beef that is properly refrigerated the whole time at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below can be suitable to consume within 1-2 days provided that there are no signs of spoilage associated with it.

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

Ways to spot bad ground beef

Certain indicators point out bad ground beef, therefore you should consider the color, texture, and smell of your ground 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 ground beef has changed to grey-green or brown then it is the indication that your ground beef has gone bad.

Texture 

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

But keep one thing in mind that rinsing the ground 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 ground 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 ground beef that has gone bad.

It is worth mentioning that you should wash your hands thoroughly after touching the bacteria-laden ground 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 ground beef then it means that your ground beef has gone bad and you should discard it.  

Health implications of eating bad ground beef

The beef itself is a highly perishable food time and when it is ground, its overall surface area increases. As the surface area of ground beef is increased, therefore there is more space for bacteria to spread on. 

Moreover, during the mincing and grounding process, the bacteria that were otherwise present on the surface of the meat now gets mixed throughout the whole mixture and the rate of contamination, as well as degradation of ground beef, also increases.

So if due to any reason, bacteria somehow found their way to your ground 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 ground beef is the incidence of food poisoning. 

Ground beef belongs to the meat group that is a highly perishable food commodity and can have E.coli, Shigella, or Salmonella present in it which can cause food poisoning which 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.

Conclusion

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

Citations

https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/8728779/meat-safe-fifty-days-use-by-dates-rigid-money/

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

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-tell-if-ground-beef-is-bad#Side-effects-of-eating-bad-beef

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

https://www.quora.com/How-long-after-expiration-can-you-eat-ground-beef

https://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/545286-would-you-eat-this-ground-beef-3-days-past-use-by-date/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/441979-can-you-eat-meat-after-sell-by-date/

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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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