When does ground beef go bad in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “when does ground beef go bad in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of beef in the fridge. Moreover, we are going to discuss ways to spot bad ground beef and the proper way to store ground beef.

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

When does ground beef go bad in the fridge?

Ground beef lasts for about 1-2 days in the fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below as long as the safety standards are maintained. It does not necessarily go bad immediately after 2 days if stored properly, but after 2 days, its flavor and freshness will start to fade.

You should always store your ground beef at 40°F or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore it is always advised to store your ground beef at a lower temperature.

Beef belongs to the meat food group and is a highly perishable commodity. There is a great risk of bacterial contamination if this food item is not stored and afterward cooked appropriately. Moreover as ground beef has small particles with a large surface area therefore it has a short shelf life as compared to the beef parts.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that you should always read the labels for the best before the date of the store-bought ground beef.

But you should always keep in mind that the best before or best by date refers to the quality of the ground beef rather than the safety. It is the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of the ground beef.

You can read about the benefits of eating beef here.

What is the shelf life of ground beef?

Raw ground beef lasts for about 3-4 months if kept in an air-tight container, plastic freezer bag, or heavy-duty freezer containers in the freezer. 

Thus keeping the ground beef in the freezer will increase its shelf life considerably owing to the cool temperature of the freezer that halts the bacterial growth on the ground beef. 

It is better to store ground beef in plastic freezer bags or heavy-duty freezer containers to protect it from freezer burns.

Frozen raw ground beef if thawed in the refrigerator can stay there for 1-2 days before cooking. But if you thaw your ground beef in a bowl of cold water or the microwave, it is advised to cook it immediately afterward. 

Ground beef lasts for about 2 hours when kept at room temperature. You should discard the ground beef 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 raw ground beef being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours.

The beef itself is a highly perishable food time and when it is ground, its overall surface area increases. As the surface area of ground beef is increased, therefore there is more space for bacteria to spread on. 

Moreover, during the mincing and grounding process, the bacteria that were otherwise present on the surface of the meat now gets mixed throughout the whole mixture and the rate of contamination, as well as degradation of ground beef, also increases.

How to spot bad ground beef?

You can spot bad ground beef by its color, smell, and texture. If ground beef has some mold or organic growth on it, then it means that it has gone bad. Moreover, if you smell something sour, acidic, or ammonia-like while taking a sniff test of the ground beef then it means that the ground beef is bad.

Bad ground beef has a slimy and gooey texture and it is better to get rid of such ground beef as it can cause a lot of health implications like food poisoning if it is consumed.

How to properly store ground beef?

The ground beef should be washed thoroughly before storing it in an air-tight container or bag in the fridge. Moreover, you can also opt for vacuum sealing for retaining the freshness of ground beef for a long time. 

It is a good practice to store the raw ground beef on the shelf of the fridge rather than the door as there is a lot of temperature fluctuation at the door of the fridge.

It is best practice to store the raw ground beef on the lowest shelf of the fridge to eliminate any chances of its dripping on any other food item. If you want to freeze the ground beef it is better to wrap it in the aluminum foil or freezer bag before putting it in air-tight heavy-duty freezer containers.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “when does ground beef go bad in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of beef in the fridge. Moreover, we discussed ways to spot bad ground beef and the proper way to store ground beef.

Citations

https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/16508

https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-tell-if-ground-beef-is-bad

Avatar

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *