How long after the sell-by date is ground beef good?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long after the sell-by date is ground beef good” with an in-depth analysis of the time for which ground beef stays good after the sell-by date. Moreover, we are going to discuss the ways to do a sensory evaluation of ground beef and the health implications of consuming bad ground beef. 

How long after the sell-by date is ground beef good?

You should use the ground beef within 1-2 days after the sell-by date, thus as long as you have properly refrigerated the ground beef at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it can still be used a day or two after it is purchased. 

“Sell by” date indicates the particular date before which ground beef should be sold to the customer, it is the recommended date before which ground beef should be sold.

According to USDA, you should consume your ground beef by the use-by date. It is worth mentioning that it is the use-buy date that is written on the package of ground beef and it is better to use ground beef within this time to enjoy its optimum quality and taste.

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

It is worth mentioning that cooking prolongs the shelf life of the ground beef for a couple of days. On the other hand, if you want to preserve the quality of your ground beef for quite a while then it is better to store it in the freezer properly.

Sensory evaluation of 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 is past its prime time.

Texture 

If you feel something slimy or gooey while touching the ground beef, 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 acidic or sour while taking a sniff test of your ground beef then it means that your ground beef has gone bad and you should discard it.  

Eating bad ground beef is associated with food poisoning due to E.coli, Campylobacter, or Salmonella on the ground beef. 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. 

As ground beef belongs to the meat group that is a highly perishable food commodity and can have E.coli or Salmonella present in it which can cause food poisoning which is characterized by abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

Therefore, you should try to drink as much water as possible so that while the body is getting rid of the toxins in the form of diarrhea and vomiting, the water you drink will protect your body against dehydration that vomiting can otherwise result in.

In case the condition does not get better or even worsens, seek immediate medical help.

You can read more about E.coli here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long after the sell-by date is ground beef good” with an in-depth analysis of the time for which ground beef stays good after the sell-by date. Moreover, we discussed the ways to do a sensory evaluation of ground beef and the health implications of consuming bad ground beef. 

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-tell-if-ground-beef-is-bad#:~:text=A%20sell%2Dby%20date%20tells,date%20(3%2C%206).
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-to-tell-if-ground-beef-is-bad
https://www.livestrong.com/article/441979-can-you-eat-meat-after-sell-by-date/
https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-long-is-meat-or-poultry-safe-to-use-after-the-sell-by-date
https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/16508

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.