Red meat, chicken and seafood show very different signs when they are spoiled. Depending on the type of meat, you may have to inspect the smell, color and texture, and take the correct measures to preserve the products longer. When in doubt, throw it all away. Finally, follow the tips in this article to familiarize yourself with the subject and never take chances!
Method 1 of 4: Determining whether red meat is spoiled
Step 1. Inspect the packaging and check the expiration date
The shelf life of red meat is one to three days when raw and seven to ten days when cooked. Throw away anything beyond the expiration date so you don't risk food poisoning.
Step 2. Smell the meat
If it smells bad, it's probably spoiled. Red meat has a characteristic odor when it is past its expiration date. In that case, throw it all away.
Do not put your nose against or close to the meat to smell it. Run your hand over it and then bring your fingers to your nostrils
Step 3. Discard the meat if it has been in the fridge for more than five days
How long the meat lasts in the fridge depends on the shape - ground or cut. The ground meat can be stored for one to two days, while the cut lasts for three to five days.
Meat lasts longer when frozen. If you don't plan to prepare it for a while, store everything in the freezer
Step 4. Do not eat meat if there are greenish spots on it
Generally, when the meat has some greenish or brown spots, it is because it is not suitable for consumption - although this is not always the case. Finally, if it's sparkling in color, it's contaminated with bacteria.
When in doubt, throw the meat away
Step 5. Feel the texture of the meat
Meat is sticky when it is spoiled. If so, throw it away - the bacteria may have already started to multiply.
Method 2 of 4: Determining if the chicken is spoiled
Step 1. Watch out for strong bad smells
Chicken has no smell when it's good for consumption. If not, throw it away and clean the fridge or freezer. The bad smell usually stays in the area when it does not receive proper cleaning.
Use baking soda to get rid of the strong smell in the fridge
Step 2. Don't eat chicken if it's gray
Raw chicken is pink when in good condition and white when cooked. If the meat turns gray or discolored, it's probably not good anymore.
Skin the chicken that is served to you in restaurants to see the color
Step 3. Feel the texture of the chicken
The chicken has a kind of liquid film, but it is not mucous. If so, throw it away.
Wash your hands after handling raw chicken, even if it isn't spoiled
Step 4. Look for signs of mold on the cooked chicken
In addition to the above signs, spoiled cooked chicken may start to show mold. Don't try to get rid of the fungus and eat the rest - in those cases, it's always better to throw it all away to avoid food poisoning.
Method 3 of 4: Determining if the seafood is spoiled
Step 1. Don't eat strangely smelling seafood
Contrary to common sense, fresh seafood cannot smell like fish. They may even have a smell of the sea, but not strong. Trust your nose: throw it all away if you suspect anything.
Smell the seafood while still in the supermarket to see if everything is ok
Step 2. Inspect the seafood to see if it is fresh
Seafood is glistening when taken out of the water, but spoils when dry. If they have eyes or gills, the eyes have to be transparent (not cloudy) and the gills have to be reddish, not purple or brown.
Do not eat flaking fish
Step 3. Do not eat milky colored fish
Fresh fish are white, red or pink and have a liquid film layer. If the meat is bluish or gray and has a slimy film, it's bad.
Step 4. Inspect live seafood before eating
The seafood we eat alive, like shellfish, spoils quickly after they die. Swish mussels, oysters and clams to see if they close their shells when touched. Finally, see if crabs and lobsters move their legs before cooking them.
Do not eat shellfish that have been dead for a few hours
Method 4 of 4: Preventing Meat from Going
Step 1. Do not put the meat to defrost on the kitchen counter
Meat has a high chance of spoiling when left out of the fridge or freezer for too long. Thaw it in the microwave, which is faster and safer, so you don't take any risks.
You can also defrost meat in the fridge
Step 2. Store the meat at a suitable temperature
It has to stay at 4°C when it's in the fridge. Otherwise, it can spoil faster. Throw away anything that has been left at room temperature for too long.
Step 3. Freeze the meat if you don't plan to eat it right away
Although meat spoils after a few days in the fridge, it can last much longer in the freezer. Place it in a container with a lid and store until the day of consumption arrives.
Frozen meat can burn in the freezer, which affects the taste (although not harmful to health)
Step 4. Do not eat anything that is past its expiration date or out of the freezer
It might look good, but it's still infected with bacteria. Do not eat it if it has passed its expiration date or has been at room temperature for a long time.
Step 5. Measure the internal temperature of the meat while cooking it
As not all food bacteria are detectable, it is essential to cook meat at the right temperature to avoid food poisoning. For red meat, this temperature is between 49 and 74° C (depending on the way of preparation and the point). For chicken, it's 74°C. For seafood, it's 63°C.
It's okay to eat some raw seafood, like sushi. In this case, follow the preparation instructions to the letter and discard the meat if you notice any negative signs
- Always wash your hands before and after touching raw meat.
- Do not eat meat with torn packages or leaking liquids.
- Do not eat meat if you think it is spoiled. In that case, send it back to the restaurant.