Can you get sick from eating expired meat?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you get sick from eating expired meat” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating expired meat. 

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Can you get sick from eating expired meat?

Expired meat or meat that has gone bad contains a lot of bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, and Staphylococcus aureus are the main culprits responsible for spoiled lunch meat while bad bacon and ham contain Salmonella, E.coli, Clostridium, or tapeworm, etc which can result in food poisoning. Moreover, it can also contain parasites that can result in toxoplasmosis or trichinosis.

In the case of beef Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, Shigella, E.coli, etc. can be present that can result in food poisoning.

So if you have devoured meat that has gone bad, it can result in food poisoning that is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, weakness, headaches, and dehydration.

A mild food poisoning lasts for about a day or two while a more persistent case of food poisoning can last for about 10 days.

  1. Diarrhea is an indication of the body that a certain obnoxious agent has entered it. So consumption of expired or bacteria-laden meat often causes diarrhea.
  1. Food poisoning after consuming bad meat is characterized by abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is also accompanied by vomiting and nausea in most cases.
  1. If you have consumed meat that has bacterial growth on it then you will experience nausea and vomiting which is the natural defense of the body to get rid of the unwanted harmful substance that has entered the body.
  1. Consuming meat that has gone bad will also raise your body temperature and you can experience fever which is the natural defense mechanism of your body and is the indicator that something is off with your body.

So in case you have devoured bad meat and are now suffering from vomiting and diarrhea,  you should 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.

Moreover, the symptoms of severe and potentially life-threatening food poisoning involve diarrhea persisting for more than 3 days, fever higher than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, symptoms of severe dehydration, and bloody urine. In such a case, you should seek medical help immediately.

No doubt that consuming bad meat will induce food poisoning in the individuals that consume them but some vulnerable populations are more prone to food poisoning if they consume bad meat. They are

  1. Elderly people especially those that are above the age of 65
  1. Children that are aged under 5 as their immune system is weak as compared to the adults
  1. Pregnant women
  1. Immunocompromised people have a very weak immune system and are already suffering from diseases like HIV or the people that have recently got a transplant or have gone through surgery.

Therefore such people should take more care while consuming food and should always check if the meat they are going to consume is good or spoiled.

You should do the sensory evaluation of the meat, before deciding whether or not you are going to eat them.

Certain indicators point out bad meat, therefore you should consider the color, texture, and smell of your meat to reach a final verdict whether it has gone bad or not.

Color 

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

In the case of the packaged meat, if you notice that the color of the meat has turned brown then it is an indication of bad meat and you should discard it.

On the other hand when it comes to fresh fish, then it is bright in color, so if you notice that your fish fillets are dull in appearance then it is an indication that your fish is past its prime time.

Texture 

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

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

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

Tips to properly store meat

  1. You should always store your meat 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 meat at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.
  1. You should never let your meat sit out for more than 2 hours. The meat lasts for about 2 hours when kept at room temperature (1 hour if the temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or more). You should discard the meat 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 meat are already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours at the room temperature.
  1. It is advised to always store the meat 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 meat.
  1. In case you want to freeze the meat, it is best practice to wrap them in heavy-duty aluminum foil or thick plastic wrap before putting them in a plastic freezer bag. By doing so you will prevent freezer burns on your meat.

You can read about the nutritional facts and the health benefits of beef here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you get sick from eating expired meat” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating expired meat. 

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-tell-if-ground-beef-is-bad#:~:text=Bacteria%20can%20grow%20in%20enormous,coli.

https://www.insider.com/what-happens-if-you-eat-food-that-went-bad-2019-2

https://www.eatthis.com/eating-expired-foods/

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/20-foods-you-should-never-eat-past-their-expiration-date/ss-BBF3Wfz

https://www.livestrong.com/article/550357-what-happens-if-you-cook-meat-after-it-has-gone-bad/

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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