In this brief guide, we will answer the question “How long does uncooked ground beef last in the fridge?”, discuss how to increase the shelf life of uncooked ground beef, and can uncooked ground beef go bad.
How long does uncooked ground beef last in the fridge?
Uncooked ground beef can stay in the fridge for 1-2 days. But when you keep the uncooked beef in the refrigerator rather than in the freezer, you need to pay more attention to the safety and taste of the beef. This is important because the refrigeration temperature (4℃) can slow the growth of bacteria, but it can not keep the uncooked beef fresh for as much time as we expect while keeping it in the freezer.
So you need to toss off the beef that is stored in the refrigerator for too long. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), uncooked beef can stay in the fridge for a certain limit only, and when this limit is over, it is not safe at all to consume such beef.
How to increase the shelf life of uncooked ground beef?
The shelf life of different products is dependant on the degradation mechanism, so when you want to increase the shelf life of a product, you need to control those degradation mechanisms. In the case of uncooked ground beef, the shelf life is affected by heat, moisture, contamination by microorganisms, and several other factors. Therefore, to increase the shelf life of uncooked beef, you can go for:
Salting is one of the most common and ancient ways to increase the shelf life of uncooked ground beef. In salting, the excessive amount of salt acts as a preservative and draws all the moisture out from the uncooked beef, thereby creating an unwelcoming environment for the bacteria to grow. This is how beef is prevented from harboring bacteria and its shelf life is increased.
Artificial food additives
Artificial food additives such as nitrites and benzoates can also help you increase the shelf life of uncooked ground beef. These additives have antioxidants and have antimicrobial properties. Due to the antioxidants, they decrease the moisture content of the beef and slow down the ripening process of the uncooked beef. The antimicrobial properties of these additives help in preventing the beef from microorganisms including the bacteria that are responsible for causing severe-mild food poisoning.
Freezing increases the shelf life of the uncooked beef by controlling the heat without affecting the taste and texture of the beef. At the freezing temperature, the bacteria get completely inactivated and so the beef can be stored even for months.
Can uncooked ground beef go bad?
Uncooked beef, if improperly stored, can surely go bad. It is very important to make sure that the beef is fresh and good to use to avoid any risk associated with the consumption of bad beef. Because consumption of bad ground beef can cause stomach pain and food poisoning with symptoms of fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps. These symptoms range from mild to severe and can also lead to death in rare cases.
3 signs that ground beef has gone bad
It is very easy but a bit tricky to check if the ground beef has gone bad. While observing the ground beef for its spoilage, keep the following things in consideration:
The first telltale sign that will help you to check if the ground beef has gone bad or not is the smell of beef. If there is some nasty smell coming from the ground beef, this means that beef is no more good to use. Do not consider that the rotten smell is the clear indicator of beef spoilage because certain pathogenic bacteria can be harboring the ground beef but they are not producing the smell.
Spoiled beef is slimy and sticky in texture. This change in texture is due to the production of metabolites by bacteria and certain capsulated bacteria may have a slime layer on them that causes the ground beef to change its texture. So, whenever you feel slimy texture or stickiness in ground beef, it will be the right time to discard that package of ground beef.
The color change of the beef is also a clear indicator that the beef has gone bad. When the ground beef goes bad, you may observe dark-colored spots on it. You will also observe that the particular red color of the ground beef has been masked by some other color like green, brown, or yellow.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long does uncooked ground beef last in the fridge?”, discussed how to increase the shelf life of uncooked ground beef, and can uncooked ground beef go bad.