How to Tell If Beef Is Spoiled

Keep yourself and others safe by learning how to tell if beef is spoiled.


Up next in Food Safety & Freshness (34 videos)

Prevent food poisoning and food-borne illnesses with the advice in this Howcast video series.

You Will Need

  • Beef
  • Observation skills


  1. Step 1

    Inspect the beef

    Inspect the raw piece of beef. Beef that has spoiled will have a change of color and will have faded or darkened. Fresh meat is purplish in color and will change to a cherry red color when exposed to oxygen. Grey, green, or brown coloring may indicate spoiled beef.

  2. The color of beef is also influenced by the age, species, sex, and diet of the animal. Meat from an older animal and exercised muscles may be darker.

  3. Step 2


    Smell the beef. Spoiled beef has an off-odor. It may have an ammonia or sulfur smell.

  4. Step 3


    Touch the beef. Spoiled beef feels tacky to the touch.

  5. Step 4

    Inspect cooked beef

    Inspect cooked beef. Spoiled cooked beef will be sticky or slimy and have an unpleasant odor.

  6. Step 5


    Do not consume spoiled beef; discard it and order in instead!

  7. The introduction of cattle cars and refrigerated cars on the railroad made distribution of beef possible.