How long does ground beef last after sell-buy date? (3 storage tips)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, ‘How long does ground beef last after sell-by date?’. We explore the factors that cause the ground beef to spoil and ways that make ground beef last longer.

How long does ground beef last after sell-buy date?

Ground Beef is a must-buy. It is a versatile meat kind that is tasty and inexpensive. You can cook Ground Beef into anything from casseroles to hamburger steak. The best part is it takes shorter to cook because of its exposed surface area and is a good source of protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B. This ground-up red meat will provide you with essential nutrients when eaten as part of a balanced diet. 

After the sell-by date has passed, you can expect your ground beef to last one to three days. 

The shelf life of perishable items depends on handling before consumption and, it is good to examine your food before you decide to throw it away. 40 % of food wasted is in good condition. Examine your ground beef for spoilage signs and, do not toss it out if you have exceeded the sell-by date.

Should you use Ground Beef after the sell-by date?

A sell-by date is different from expiration, as; the words suggest. Expiration dates imply that food items could be consumed safely; before the mentioned period. However, the sell-buy date assumes that after a consumer buys any foodstuffs; they would probably store them for a few days before consumption. It is under such conditions that you can expect the food to last beyond their sell-by date.

According to the USDA, food products must be consumed, before the use-by date. If your label mentions sell-buy date only, the consensus recommends that ground meat will last you one to two days after the sell-by date. A whole beef will last longer, however, 3-5 days after the best-buy date.

What makes your Ground Beef spoil?

 Meat is mostly water and highly nutritious, which means that it is a haven for bacterial growth. Ground beef may be more susceptible than the solid counterpart because of its exposed surface area. 

Hence, it is likely to spoil sooner if it wasn’t refrigerated or handled properly.

 Meat is usually attacked by Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp, Listeria; these microorganisms thrive at a slower pace if the ground meat was handled carefully. 

When you freeze, the bacteria become inactive; hence your meat lasts longer. Freezing meat is always a safe bet because the microbial activity has completely halted. 

However, if the meat was subjected to certain adverse conditions such as hot temperature; or an exposed environment; your meat quality and safety are at stake.

If you refrigerate your ground meat you can expect to consume it safely until the sell-by date or even a few days after.

Refrigeration is not as efficient as freezing is when it comes to conserving the shelf life of meat. Refrigeration works best if you intend to consume your ground meat sooner or later.

Other FAQs about Beef which you may be interested in.

How long is beef broth good for?

Can you bake ground beef? (+5 Ways to brown ground beef)

Does draining ground beef reduce fat?

How to store ground beef?

  • For extended storage, freeze instead of refrigerating it.
  • Thaw in the fridge rather than the room temperature.
  • Once you thaw, do not refreeze.

According to the USDA, when you buy beef, freeze it within 3-4 days. However, If your best-buy date for refrigeration has not passed yet, you could still choose to freeze it. Make sure it is still in a store-bought air-tight container and place it as further away from the door as possible. 

Frozen beef lasts for three to four months when frozen. In contrast, when refrigerated, you can expect ground beef to last three to four days only.

Unlike freezing, refrigeration only slows down the bacterial rate. Hence, the spoilage rate is significantly lower if ground beef is refrigerated. The optimum temperature to store meat at refrigeration is around 33 Fahrenheits.

Even though bacteria destroy when meat cooks, the bacteria produce toxins that remain even after, so throw away your ground meat if you left it outside.

What conditions compel you to discard Ground Beef?

IF you left meat at room temperature for more than 2 hours, you might need to throw it away. Room temperature or higher encourages bacterial growth that can cause food poisoning and make a person sick.

The quality of meat deteriorates as the sell-by date approaches, but it gives off signs when it is about to spoil.  Throw it away if you observe off-odor, moldy or slimy texture.

If you observe any of the three following signs, it means your ground beef has spoilt: 

  • a Greyish-brown color
  • a sticky or slimy texture
  • a tangy, putrid odor

In this brief guide, we answered the question, ‘How long does ground beef last after sell-by date?’‘. We explored the factors that cause the ground beef to spoil and ways that could make ground beef last longer.