How long can raw hamburger meat stay in the fridge? (4 tips)
In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long can raw hamburger meat stay in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of hamburger meat in different mediums. Moreover, we are going to discuss the easy way to do vacuum sealing at home and the tips to store raw hamburger meat properly.
How long can raw hamburger meat stay in the fridge?
Raw hamburger meat can be kept in the fridge for approximately 1-2 days as long as the safety standards are maintained.
Hamburger meat is a highly perishable commodity. There is a great risk of bacterial contamination if this food item is not stored and afterward cooked appropriately.
Microbial contamination tends to be focused on the surface of whole meat cuts; however, in the case of hamburger meat, microbial contaminants are more evenly distributed throughout due to the blending that occurs during its production process. (1, 2)
How long does raw hamburger meat keep in the freezer?
Raw hamburger meat can last for approximately 3-4 months when stored in the freezer within an air-tight container, a plastic freezer bag, or a heavy-duty freezer container. Keeping raw hamburger meat in the freezer significantly extends its shelf life. The cold temperature of the freezer stops bacterial growth on the raw meat, ensuring it stays fresh for longer. (1)
How long does hamburger meat last after being thawed?
To maintain food safety, it is advisable to either cook or refreeze hamburger meat within one to two days. Defrosting ground beef in the controlled environment of a refrigerator is highly recommended. Keeping a consistently cold setting during thawing is crucial to inhibit bacteria growth.
To thaw your ground beef faster, you have two options: using the microwave or cold water. If you choose the microwave method, it is important to cook the ground beef immediately to prevent certain areas from starting to cook during the defrosting process.
When utilizing the cold water thawing method, it is advisable to place the meat inside a sealed plastic bag and immerse it completely. Remember to replace the water every 30 minutes. (1)
How does temperature affect hamburger meat?
Temperature plays a crucial role in influencing the growth of microorganisms. Most bacteria that cause spoilage thrive within the optimal temperature range of 12 to 30 °C. However, when meat is exposed to colder conditions, around 2–4 °C, it experiences a cold shock that disrupts and eventually eliminates microbial cells.
Maintaining meat at temperatures below 4 °C effectively inhibits bacterial growth, resulting in an extension of its shelf life by several days.
Lowering the temperature even further to a range of −2 to −18 °C brings about a complete cessation of both microbial and enzymatic activities. This is due to the freezing process and the absence of available water. (3)
How to tell if hamburger meat has gone off?
The primary indicators of hamburger spoilage encompass changes in texture, the presence of sliminess or liquids, changes in color, and the emergence of unpleasant odors. These signs of spoilage typically manifest due to a variety of mechanisms.
Natural processes occurring within the meat, such as lipid oxidation or enzymatic reactions within muscle cells post-slaughter, can contribute to spoilage. However, the predominant driver of spoilage is the unavoidable introduction of microorganisms, primarily bacteria, during the stages of animal-to-meat processing.
Subsequently, these microorganisms multiply and engage in metabolic activities during storage. Each stage of processing can impact the level of microbial contamination, while storage conditions play a role in molding the composition of bacterial communities. This, in turn, influences the progression of microbial spoilage over time. (4)
To ensure freshness and prevent bacteria growth, it is recommended to promptly refrigerate or freeze ground beef after purchasing. The grinding process increases the surface area of meat, making it more vulnerable to harmful bacteria. Bacterial growth becomes accelerated within the “Danger Zone,” which refers to temperatures ranging from 40 to 140 °F (4.4 and 60 °C).
If you plan to consume the meat immediately, it can be kept in its original packaging. To ensure optimal bacteria control, it is recommended to store ground beef at temperatures of 40 °F (4.4 °C) or colder and consume it within a maximum of 2 days.
Alternatively, for longer preservation, freezing the ground beef is advised. It is crucial to avoid leaving ground beef or any perishable food unattended at room temperature for more than two hours. This timeframe is even shorter, only 1 hour when the temperatures reach 90 °F (32.2 °C) and above. (1)
In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long can raw hamburger meat stay in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of hamburger meat in different mediums. Moreover, we discussed the easy way to do vacuum sealing at home and the tips to store raw hamburger meat properly.
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U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety Website. Washington, DC. Ground Beef and Food Safety. 2016.
DANG, David S. et al. Crystallization behavior and quality of frozen meat. Foods, v. 10, n. 11, p. 2707, 2021.
Nethra, Perichitala Vasudev, et al. Critical factors affecting the shelf life of packaged fresh red meat–A Review. Measurement: Food: 100086. 2023.
Rovira P, Brugnini G, Rodriguez J, Cabrera MC, Saadoun A, de Souza G, Luzardo S, Rufo C. Microbiological Changes during Long-Storage of Beef Meat under Different Temperature and Vacuum-Packaging Conditions. Foods.12(4):694. 2023.