There are various ways in order to identify spoiled meat. Always bear in mind that meat can become spoiled during the processing, handling and during the cooking process. Meat that has been contaminated by bacteria has been the main cause of different types of food poisoning in both children and adults.
It is important that you know how to identify spoiled meat in order to prevent food poisoning from occurring. If you suspect food poisoning, the symptoms that manifest usually clear up after some time but for severe cases, it would require proper assessment by a doctor so that appropriate treatment measures can be started right away. If you want to learn more about food poisoning, click here.
Smelling the meat
One of the common ways to check if meat is spoiled is to smell it. Always bear in mind that once a bacterium breaks down the meat, the smell will change. If you will notice any sulfur or ammonia smell, it simply indicates that bacteria has multiplied and already consuming the meat.
When there is a rotten odor, it can be caused by the multiplication of bacteria due to incorrect packaging of the meat product. Additionally, if you will notice an onion-like flavor, this might be due to storing of meat close to onions.
Check the color of the meat
In case the meat does not have its distinctive pinkish color or has gone black, it should not be eaten anymore. In some cases, there is a noticeable gray, brown or green coloring. If this is the case, the yeast or bacteria has already spoiled the meat. Colors such as brown, green or gray might also be due to freezer burn, mold or protein denaturation.
Nevertheless, the darkening or fading of the meat is normal and usually due to the storage in the freezer. Additionally, the fresher the meat, the redder its color will be. The white spots are typically due to freezer burn. Take note that meat which sustained freezer burn is safe to eat, but it will not taste good and the consistency is odd. Many trim the freezer burn in the meat prior to cooking. When in doubt, the meat should not be eaten anymore.
Other changes in the meat
In some cases, there are also noticeable mold colonies on meat that has been stored in refrigerators or even outdoors. There is also slime or a slimy feeling on the meat which is also due to the mold. The lines or whiskers within the meat can also develop with mold infestations of the meat. Eventually, actual maggots or other insects in the meat simply indicate that the meat is no longer edible.
Proper storage of meat
The ideal way to prevent spoiled meat is to store it properly. Always make sure that the meat is properly wrapped to avoid freezer burn. Meat can last up to 4 days in a refrigerator and then after that, it should be stored in a freezer to prevent spoilage. Almost all types of meat will not persist longer than 6 months inside a freezer and some such as poultry can only last up to 4 months. Cooked meat can be stored in a freezer but it will not taste as good as it did before the freezing.