If you have leftover ground beef that has been sitting in the fridge for a week, it may be tempting to eat it. But will this cause more harm than good? Read on as we discuss if you can eat ground beef that has been in the fridge for a week.
You can not eat ground beef that has been in the fridge for a week. If stored in the refrigerator, raw ground beef can last for 1-2 days. Likewise, cooked ground beef can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. After which, you should discard the ground beef as spoiled food can lead to food poisoning.
It is essential to know how to identify when ground beef has spoiled to avoid foodborne illnesses. So carry on reading to learn the signs that ground beef is no longer safe to eat.
Is Ground Beef Left In The Fridge For A Week Edible?
So you are raiding the refrigerator looking for something to eat when you stumble across ground beef that you have forgotten about for a week. Maybe it is raw ground beef that you want to use in tonight’s taco dinner.
Or perhaps it is the leftover dinner from a week ago that you hope is a godsend since you cannot muster up the motivation to cook. Whatever the ground beef is, you surely want to know if it is edible, right?
Why You Should Avoid Eating It
Unfortunately, ground beef that has been left in the fridge for a week is not edible and should be discarded immediately; This goes for both raw and cooked ground beef. Spoiled ground beef can be rife with pathogenic bacteria, leading to foodborne illnesses and food poisoning.
Some foodborne illnesses can be severe and even life-threatening, so ground meat that has seen better days should be avoided. Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and more.
These symptoms can appear hours are even days after eating the contaminated food. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is best to seek medical assistance.
So how long does ground beef last in the fridge? The answer is dependent on whether the ground beef is cooked or raw. Raw ground beef can stay in the refrigerator for about 1 -2 days.
In other words, within two days of purchasing ground beef, you should cook it. (All the more motivation to cook instead of ordering takeout.) In addition, purchasing high-quality ground beef will help extend its shelf-life before the quality of the meat deteriorates; here, we are referring to the meat’s best before date, not its expiry date.
Also, make sure that the ground beef is correctly stored in the refrigerator, reducing the chances of the ground beef spoiling quicker. If the ground beef has already been cooked and refrigerated, it can last three to four days. After that, you should discard the meat to help prevent any severe foodborne illnesses.
How To Properly Store Ground Beef In The Refrigerator
After purchasing your ground beef from the shops, immediately place it in the refrigerator after arriving home or within two hours of purchasing. Ground beef should never be left for more than two hours at room temperature. The same rule applies to cooked ground beef.
When placing the ground beef in the refrigerator, put it on the lowest level of the fridge within a bag to prevent the juices from leaking. To avoid cross-contamination, you should separate the ground beef from your vegetables and fruits.
The refrigerator should be at a temperature below 40°F (4°C) and sealed appropriately.
How To Tell If Ground Beef Has Spoiled
The good news is that there are various ways to tell if ground beef is no longer safe to consume. Below we will list some ways to tell if ground beef has gone bad.
Check if The Ground Beef Has Changed Color
The first way to determine the ground beef’s edibility is to check the color of the meat. Fresh ground beef is red. However, beef that has thoroughly turned a brown or gray color should be discarded as this indicates that it is starting to rot. It is important to note that ground beef with a brown color on the inside isn’t necessarily spoiled.
The color differences you see in ground beef have to do with exposure to oxygen rather than pathogenic bacteria. However, the general rule is to avoid eating ground beef if it has completely turned gray or brown.
Check If The Ground Beef’s Texture
Ground beef should have a firm texture when touched. If the ground beef is raw, it should be slightly firm and damp to the touch. Raw or cooked ground beef that feels slimy or sticky to the touch has spoiled and should be thrown out.
After touching the ground beef, wash your hands thoroughly to prevent the spread of bacteria.
Smell The Ground Beef
Ground beef is barely perceptible, but it should have a slightly iron smell if you manage to get a whiff of its scent. If the meat starts to smell rotten, rancid, or just ‘off’ in any way, it is no longer safe for consumption.
Check The Ground Beef For Signs Of Mold
Mold can be dangerous to our health. Thus, even if there are small indicators of mold growth in cooked or uncooked ground beef, it is no longer safe to eat. Small indicators of mold growth mean that the spores have infiltrated the food (although they may not be visible to the naked eye).
Never consume ground been after a week of being left in the fridge. Raw ground beef must be cooked within two days of purchase, and leftovers consumed within four days. Familiarising yourself with the signs of spoiled ground beef can help prevent severe illness.
However, be sure to seek medical assistance if you experience any ill effects. If the ground beef has been stored correctly and used within the recommended time frame, it should be safe to eat.