Can you eat meat after the use-by date if cooked?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat meat after the use-by date if cooked?” methods to store and detect spoilt meat.

Can you eat meat after the use-by date if cooked?

No, you cannot eat meat after the use-by date if cooked. Meat products are perishable and have a shorter shelf-life. Even if the meat is cooked or stored properly, it might still be unsafe to eat.

Cooking the meat that has passed its use-by date does not guarantee its safety. The meat can still contain toxins after it is cooked which can make you sick.

You can freeze meat before the use-by date to prolong its shelf-life but consume it quickly once the meat is thawed and cooked.

What does a use-by date mean?

A use-by date is the last date to store, consume, or cook the food. Beyond the use-by date, the food remains no longer safe to consume.

Can the use-by date extend if the meat is cooked?

If the meat is cooked before its use-by date, the shelf-life of the meat extends compared to the raw meat.

What is the difference between the best-before date and use-by date?

The best-before date gives an estimated time period till which the food would remain in good quality. If the food is past the best-before date, it would still be safe to consume though the food might not taste exactly the same as before or the texture of the food might have changed.

In case of the use-by date, individuals are not recommended to consume the foods past the use-by date. The use-by date is generally provided for perishable foods like meat.

Can the meat get spoilt before the use-by date?

Yes, the meat can get spoilt before the use-by date if it is not stored properly.  Sometimes, the spoilage would not even be visible. Below are some of the techniques provided to detect spoilt meat.

  • If the meat has a rancid or pungent smell, it is better to throw it away.
  • Avoid consuming meat that has a greenish or greenish-brown color. This could not necessarily be a sign of spoilage though it would still be better to discard this meat.
  • If the meat is sticky, it is better to discard them. A slimy cover over the meat indicates bacterial multiplication and needs to be thrown away instantly.

Other FAQs about meat and use-by dates that you may be interested in.

How to store meat?

It is essential to store meat properly to extend its shelf-life. Below are some of the techniques to prolong meat’s shelf-life.

  • Avoid defrosting the meat on your kitchen counter. You can thaw the meat in the microwave or fridge.
  • Avoid keeping meat at room temperature for a long time.
  • In the fridge, store the meat at a temperature of 40℉. Avoid storing meat in a warm environment or temperature as it is likely to get spoilt quickly.
  • You can freeze meat if you want to prolong the shelf-life of meat beyond the use-by date. However, freeze the meat before the use-by date. Place the meat in an airtight container and it would stay safe for months.
  • When you are cooking meat, use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the meat. This will ensure that the meat has the required doneness and is safe to consume.

If you are planning to consume red meat, cook it at a temperature between 120 to 165℉.

  • Avoid consuming meat with a broken packet or seals. If you observe juices dripping from store-bought meat, avoid consuming it.
  • If the meat has been taken out of the freezer, avoid refreezing them.
  • Store meat away from other foods. This will help in preventing cross-contamination and prevent the foods from picking up odors.
  • You can reuse the bags for meat or fish. Avoid using the same bags for other foods to avoid contamination.
  • For reducing wastage, you can divide the meat into sections and freeze them.
  • Thaw meat in a microwave or refrigerator. Place it in a bowl while thawing, as the meat will release liquids during thawing and this liquid should be kept away from contaminating other foods.

What happens if you consume expired meat?

Consuming expired meat can contribute to food poisoning. The symptoms of food poisoning can occur within 1-2 days.

Avoid consuming meat past its use-by date and cook meat thoroughly before consuming them.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat meat after the use-by date if cooked?” methods to store and detect spoilt meat.