What Does Spoiled Beef Smell Like?

Beef that’s gone bad has a sour smell. Sometimes with an aroma like milk that has gone off.

The first clue that a steak has gone bad is the smell, followed by color.

First thing: Fresh meat, like fresh fish, has no smell. Be cautious if a piece of meat gives off a sour smell. It may not be safe to eat. In our industry, we live by the motto “If in doubt, throw it out.”

Be careful though, meats with preservatives, i. e. even though they may not smell bad, some sausages and cured meats can contain harmful pathogens if they are kept for too long. Always buy from a trusted source.

This may be the first thing you notice if your beef has gone bad, even before you open the fridge. Spoiled beef will develop a scent to it similar to ammonia or sulfur. In short, it won’t smell good.

What will bad ground beef smell like?

Spoiled ground beef will have a pungent, putrid smell. Generally, ground beef that is safe to eat has little to no odor.

Can ground beef smell a little but not expired?

All ground beef has a slight aroma of iron. While the smell of ground beef getting close to its expiration date may be slightly more noticeable, it is still safe to eat. However, a product should be thrown away if it has a strong, noticeable odor because it is probably spoiled.

Is it OK to cook grey ground beef?

It is typical for the outside of a package of ground beef to be red or pink, while the interior may be grey or brown. This is brought on by a deficiency in oxygen in the beef’s center.

However, if the outside of the ground beef is grey, it should not be cooked or eaten and should be thrown away.

Ground beef is very popular but highly perishable.

You can tell if your ground beef has gone bad using a few easy methods, such as observing changes in color, odor, and texture.

Despite the fact that the bacteria that cause meat to spoil are typically not harmful, when it goes bad, other disease-causing microorganisms may proliferate. You should always thoroughly cook meat and stay away from consuming undercooked or spoiled ground beef to lower your risk of illness.

Healthline adheres to strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. Last medical review: June 14, 2023 We avoid using tertiary references. Read our to find out more about how we make sure that our information is accurate and current.

  • Cooper, JV, et al. Communication quickly: Effects of modern lighting on the oxidation of fresh ground beef pubmed. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/27898846/.
  • Ground beef and food safety. (2016).fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/meat/ground-beef-and-food-safety
  • Iulietto, MF, et al. (2015) Meat spoilage: A review of a neglected change brought on by bacteria that produce ropy slime tandfonline. com/doi/full/10. 4081/ijas. 2015. 4011.
  • Weinroth, MD, et al. (2019). Changes in the microbiome of ground beef result from antimicrobial decontamination procedures and product storage ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC6550395/.

Our experts closely follow the health and wellness sector, and whenever fresh information is released, we update our articles.

Jerlyn Jones, MS MPA RDN LD CLT

Natalie Butler, RD, LD

Christina Guzik, BA, MBA

What Does Spoiled Beef Smell Like?

How to Tell If Beef Is Spoiled


Is it OK if beef smells a little?

Use the smell test to determine whether the ground beef is raw or cooked. Fresh ground beef barely has a smell, but rancid meat smells tangy and putrid. Once it goes bad, it’s no longer safe to eat.

How can you tell if beef meat is bad?

You should always make an effort to smell the meat before cooking it because the smell can indicate whether it’s safe to eat or not. Bad meat will have a sour aroma that is reminiscent of spoiled milk. Additionally, it will change from being red to a dark brown shade.

Is it normal for beef to smell a little sour?

Fresh red meat has a light bloody, or metallic smell. Since this fragrance isn’t overpowering, you typically have to get very close to smell it. On the other hand, a bad steak will have a distinct odor that smells sour, faintly like eggs, or like ammonia.

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