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

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

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

Before deciding whether or not you can eat ham 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, vacuum-sealed fully cooked unopened ham lasts for about 1-2 weeks past the sell-by date while once it gets opened it is advised to use it within 7 days provided that it is stored properly in the fridge. On the other hand, fresh ham lasts for about 3-5 days when stored properly in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to USDA, you should consume your ham before the use-by date but whether or not you are going to eat a properly stored ham (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 ham).

Moreover, when it comes to the use-by date then you can use the ham 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 ham also impacts its shelf life. 

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

On the other hand, the vacuum-sealed ham that is properly refrigerated the whole time at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below can be suitable to consume for about a week or two provided that there are no signs of spoilage associated with it.

Moreover, if you want to further prolong the shelf life of ham then it is recommended to store it in the freezer properly.

Different ways to spot bad ham

Certain indicators point out the bad ham, therefore you should consider the color, texture, and smell of your ham 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 ham has changed to grey-green or brown then it is the indication that your ham is past its prime time.

Texture 

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

But keep one thing in mind that rinsing the ham won’t help you in this scenario as you won’t be able to get rid of the bacteria. Rather rinsing the bacteria-laden ham 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 ham that has gone bad.

It is worth mentioning that you should wash your hands thoroughly after touching the bacteria-laden ham 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, putrid, or ammonia-like while taking a sniff test of your ham then it means that your ham has gone bad and you should discard it.  

Other FAQs about Ham which you may be interested in.

Can you eat a ham that has been frozen for 2 years?

How long is ham good for in the fridge?

How long does honey-baked ham last at room temperature?

Tips to properly store ham

  1. You should always store your ham at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit therefore it is always advised to store your ham at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.
  1. You should never let your ham sit out for more than 2 hours. Ham lasts for about 2 hours when kept at room temperature. You should discard the ham that has been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore there are greater chances of the ham being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours at the room temperature.
  1. It is advised to always store the ham on the shelf of the refrigerator rather than the door as there can be a lot of temperature fluctuations at the door of the fridge that can degrade the quality of the ham.
  1. Always cook the raw ham thoroughly till its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. Never store ham immediately after cooking because if you store the steaming hot ham in an air-tight container the moisture will build up inside it that can provide a suitable environment for bacteria to grow therefore you should let your cooked ham cool thoroughly before storing it.
  1. In case you want to freeze the ham, it is best practice to wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil or thick plastic wrap before putting it in a plastic freezer bag. By doing so you will prevent freezer burns on your ham.

You can read how to cook baked ham with brown sugar glaze here.

Conclusion

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

Citations

https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/5412632/out-of-date-sliced-ham

Ham

https://www.doesitgobad.com/ham-go-bad/

https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/47629/how-long-can-a-packet-of-sliced-ham-be-used-once-opened

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.