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How to Tell If Beef Is Spoiled

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


  • 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.
  • TIP: 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.
  • Step 2: Smell Smell the beef. Spoiled beef has an off-odor. It may have an ammonia or sulfur smell.
  • Step 3: Touch Touch the beef. Spoiled beef feels tacky to the touch.
  • Step 4: Inspect cooked beef Inspect cooked beef. Spoiled cooked beef will be sticky or slimy and have an unpleasant odor.
  • Step 5: Discard Do not consume spoiled beef; discard it and order in instead!
  • FACT: The introduction of cattle cars and refrigerated cars on the railroad made distribution of beef possible.

You Will Need

  • Beef
  • Observation skills

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