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

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

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

Before deciding whether or not you can eat mince 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, mince lasts for about 1-2 days past the sell-by date. According to USDA, you should eat your mince before the use-by date but whether or not you are going to eat a properly stored mince (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 mince).  

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

  1. If you can notice that the color of the mince has changed to grey-green or brown then it is an indication that your mince has gone bad.
  1. If you feel something slimy or gooey while touching the mince then it means that your mince has gone bad and it is better to discard it. 
  1. If you smell something sour or ammonia-like while taking a sniff test of your mince then it means that your mince has gone bad and you should discard it.  

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

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

On the other hand, the mince 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 you can use the mince that is past the use-by date provided that it was already stored properly in the freezer (before the use-by date). Frozen mince lasts for about 4 months in the freezer.

Mince and bacterial contamination

The meat itself is a highly perishable food item and when it is minced, its overall surface area increases. As the surface area of mince 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 mince, also increases.

Therefore care should be taken while handling, storing, and cooking mince. 

Tips to store mince properly

  1. You should always store your mince 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 mince at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.
  1. You should never let your mince sit out for more than 2 hours. Mince lasts for about 2 hours when kept at room temperature. You should discard the mince 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 mince 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 mince 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 mince.
  1. It is better to store your uncooked mince on the lowest shelf of the fridge to prevent it from dripping into other foods.
  1. You should wash mince as well as all the utensils and surfaces which will come in contact with the mince during handling, storing, or cooking it. 
  1. You should let the cooked mince cool thoroughly before storing it in the air-tight container or plastic zipper bag in the fridge. If you store the hot cooked mince in the air-tight container then moisture will build up inside it that will provide a suitable environment for bacteria to grow, which can ultimately spoil your cooked mince.
  1. It is recommended to store cooked mince in a shallow container in the refrigerator.
  1. If you want to preserve the freshness and quality of the mince for a long time then it is better to freeze it.

You can read how to bake meatballs in the oven here.

Conclusion

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

Citations

https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/1622252-To-use-mince-that-is-2-days-past-its-use-by-date

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

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

https://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/family-food-recipes-555/food-tips-ideas-556/345335-mince-beef-just-past-its-use-date.html

https://steakschool.com/learn/how-long-does-beef-mince-last/

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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