How To Tell If Ground Beef Is Bad: Don’t Risk It

There is a lot of confusion among consumers about whether raw ground beef has gone bad or not. You can use the cold pack method to determine if ground beef has gone bad.

This is done by placing the meat in a plastic bag and then placing it in the freezer for 30 minutes. The meat will go into rigor mortis and solidify when it’s been at room temperature for several hours, and this will help you determine whether or not it’s gone bad.

As long as there is no change to the consistency, color, smell, or taste of the meat, it can be eaten without any problems!


How To Tell If Ground Beef Is Bad: Signs Of Spoilage

Common signs that ground beef has gone bad include:

1. Off Odors

If you notice a foul smell coming from the meat – then it’s gone bad. An off odor means that your meat has gone off, so be sure to discard it.  Don’t take chances with your health and waste your money!

2. Color

The raw ground beef should have a light pinkish color, but sometimes it will turn gray or have shades of gray.

The color should stay consistent until it’s cooked and eaten. If the color is changing during cooking – then discard the meat immediately!

3. Tenderness

You can use your finger to gently test the meat – if there is no resistance, then it is still fine to eat. If there are any signs of pulling or tenderness, you know that the meat has gone bad because dead animals do not have this reaction!

4. Texture

Slightly brown spots on the meat are not a cause for concern because this is caused by overcooking, and they will go away as the meat continues to cook. Other signs of spoilage include beef that’s too thick or too tough or when it has cracked.

When ground beef has gone bad, it is typically a sign that meat has passed its expiration date, so I recommend using your nose and your eyes to protect yourself!

Here’s How To Tell If Ground Beef Has Gone Bad

How To Tell If It’s Still Good?

1. Meat That Still Smells: If the meat still smells, then it’s still good to eat!

2. Meat That Still Looks Fresh: If you’re cooking a pot roast that’s been sitting in your fridge for a few weeks – and you notice that it still looks fresh, then it’s fine to eat!

3. Meat That Doesn’t Change Color: This can also be a great indicator! [The longer the meat has been in the refrigerator and freezer – the more likely it is not going bad!]

4. Meat That Still Is Firm: If the meat is still firm and doesn’t appear to be defrosting – then it’s still good!

5. Meat That Still Has The Same Consistency: If your meat is already pre-cooked and you’re checking on it in the fridge, you can also use this as a great indicator!

How To Tell If Ground Beef Is Bad
How To Tell If Ground Beef Is Bad

Storing Ground Beef

Storing ground beef is important to its quality. Here are some tips:

  1. Store ground beef in the fridge as soon as possible after purchase.
  2. Buy food that has a low freezer temperature so it will stay fresh for a long time!
  3. If you freeze ground beef, then make sure that you have a visual inspection before cooking it to ensure that it’s still the same as when you bought it.
  4. Use an airtight container to store your meat, and put an expiration date on the outside of it.
  5. Make sure that no mold is growing on your ground beef – because this is a sign that it has gone bad!
  6. Never consume burgers that have a grayish hue to them – this is another sign that it has gone bad!

What Happens If You Eat Bad Ground Beef?

Eating bad ground beef can lead to other issues, such as:

1. Food Poisoning

Bad bacteria (which may cause food poisoning) can be on the outside of your meat, and they will enter your bloodstream when you eat it.

2. Listeriosis

This infection can cause death in immuno-compromised people (such as those with HIV, those receiving organ transplants, or those taking immunosuppressant drugs). It’s caused by eating undercooked ground beef contaminated with Listeria monocytes!

3. Bacterial Enteritis

The same bacteria that causes listeriosis can also cause this illness called ‘enteritis.

If you want to eat good ground beef, then buy it fresh and cook it thoroughly!


As long as the consistency, color, smell, and taste of the ground beef haven’t changed – chances are that it’s still good to eat! If it has gone bad, then there will be signs of mold growth and bloating due to gas production.

My name is Naznin Aktar. I'm a healthy and active person. I believe in eating healthy, staying active, and getting all the rest my body needs. I also like to try new recipes, especially when they are delicious, so those are my recipes... Hope you like it! Thank you for your time!
Naznin Aktar

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