This is why lobsters are frequently boiled alive. Take a good look at the steak, inspecting all parts of the meat thoroughly. Huh!? in a meat eating Country as america is, so many consumer’s minds are still in limbo about knowing what is good or bad in the meat’s world. If the ground meat is gray or brown throughout, however, that usually indicates that it has been in the package for a while and may be spoiling. However, it's important to ensure the venison hasn't gone bad--which can sometimes happen, particularly with fresh venison as no preservatives have been added to the meat. The skin is pale and creamy. I only cook and can tell from a foul smell (sometimes fowl)-but now I won’t be ignorant about color. After the lobster has been cooked, the meat will last for three to … If you see pooling at the bottom of your freezer, especially pinkish-looking meat juices, that’s a bad sign. In order for meat to maintain that bright red color we are familiar with, oxygen must be available at a sufficient concentration. Welcome! Thank you for the information. Yes, a brown section in a ham is a totally different issue. This produces what is called metmyoglobin. At my age, armed with proof the I give every day 100% of whatever I do in the business, the patient fuse is getting shorter by the days so, I make short and sweet. So although the brown meat may not be as pretty, it’s not harmful—yet. For more information on this topic, visit these sources: Meat Color from University of Saskatchewan, A while back I shared a video looking inside the walls of a beef slaughter…, Just when I thought LFTB (Lean Finely Textured Beef) was out of my life… Here…, With 4th of July not too long ago, these babies were flying off the shelf!…. Thanks so much for the comment! If someone serves you crabs or you begin to clean crabs and you notice a dark or black discoloration where the meat should be, then chances are high that the meat has gone bad. This is what bad crab meat may look like: “Large ice crystals (on ground beef) indicate it could be bad, and it could make you sick,” said Peisker. If you’ve only had the meat for a couple days, look for other signs of spoilage, such as a bad smell, a greenish tinge, or a slimy texture. Before you throw your steak on the grill or in the oven, notice its color. But this color can vary, as we have seen before, from light red to an intense red to an almost purple color. If all of your beef is grey rather than red or brown, it’s best to throw it away. She then went ahead to post the photo on Facebook with a comment about how upset she was her steaks were bad. The most common answer people give me is blood. I changed my approach long time ago with impossible costumers the, have proofed they don’t listen. It is okay to eat beef that has turned brown as long as it is still pink on the inside and does not have a foul odor at all, as it is an indication that the meat has gone bad. Afterall someones sniffer may be a little better than someone else’s! Yet, an isolated brown spot may be due to bruising, rather than widespread spoilage, and can be cut away. Those spots sound like freezer burn, which will not make you sick, but will make the texture of the meat unpleasantly dry. ~Teraisa, Copyright Chico Locker & Sausage Co. Inc. 2014 - All Rights Reserved, A Look Inside Glass Walls of a Slaughterhouse… A Pork Plant, Meat Inspection and Recalls: How It Works. Sarah, thanks so much for commenting! Looking forward to my steak now, without worrying! It’s also amazing to me how many people lack knowledge when it comes to meat which is why I do what I do. Ground beef changes color when it is exposed to oxygen. Your email address will not be published. Hi – that was a great article! Thank you for taking the time to explain in such detail. Here’s what’s really happening when it turned brown: (from Meat Made Best [1] ) What’s making that meat so read is the presence of myoglobin in the beef. Being a beef producers daughter I always knew that it was ok, but never knew the science behind it. I give the costumers a 3X5 instruction card telling them how to prepared it. Food spoilage is simply an umbrella term for the various signs that communicate to your senses of smell, sight, or touch, that you should not eat the food. In fact, retail stores often discount red meat products that have changed color but are still safe and wholesome – and well within their shelf life. It is extremely important to properly inspect the meat you are keeping refrigerated before eating it, just so you will be able to make sure it is safe to eat. Great post Jenny! What is looking bad, (in this case) actually is better. You might see just a few patches of discoloration rather than the whole steak slab, but spots of odd color are still a sign that you should avoid eating it. Thanks for the great comment Larry! Myoglobin is a protein that stores oxygen for aerobic metabolism in the muscle. Advertisement. I sell only the best, it is mandatory the my dry rub, (Angelo’s Magic) is on. But once meat is cooked, it denatures the proteins so there is really no going back! Brown meat is OKAY to eat.. In an effort to be more humane, some lobster chefs will quickly jab an object into the lobster's head before dropping it in the boiling water. If it is not spoiled, feel free to indulge without worry! I printed two copies, I keep one in Petaluma and one in Sonoma deli. And you are right that smell and touch are relative, but they are the number one indicators we use to diagnose. That’s right. Raw meat that has been heated up (not cooked) and then re-cooled will often times become sticky or tacky along with possibly a color change. Awesome post. If your butcher sells ground beef to order, you may notice that when he or she scoops out a portion of meat, the ground beef toward the bottom of the container (that is not exposed to oxygen) looks gray, which understandably, may cause you to worry. Angelo- I miss you and your no-BS attitude!! Two reasons I do, if you watch specials and buy cuts that have lost their color you can save HUGE on beef. It has to do with the curing. Is brown meat bad? Not to mention, I love that the first thing to pop up on the SE is from Chico. The fact that the meat in your refrigerator has turned brown simply means that the remaining blood in it has drained out. Bacteria levels and spoilage aren't necessarily part of this process. Bad Meat Is Bad Meat. A few evenings ago, I was consulted by a friend of mine about the color of meat and how to tell if it’s bad. All mammals contain this protein in their meat tissues and is very similar to hemoglobin which stores oxygen in our red blood cells. The meat has no off smells, texture changes, or discoloration. This protein is normally a dark grayish-purple but when it comes in contact with oxygen, it becomes oxymyoglobin and reacts by turning a deep red color. The good news is, even if there’s a color change — which might not be as visually appetizing — the meat or poultry is still perfectly fine to eat if stored properly in the refrigerator or freezer and consumed within a safe period of time (up to two days for ground meat and five days for other cuts). I’m lucky in that my mom was the daughter of a butcher so she taught me not to worry about color changing as much as smelling. Metmyoglobin is the cause of the characteristic brown coloration of meat that occurs as it ages. So what makes meat red in the first place? As a rancher yes we have our own beef but I also buy beef at two local grocery stores fairly regularly. This is a great explanation of meat color! Which is Ok leaves more for me! I’m currently in Charlotte, NC….but lived in Chico during Elementary school, and then again College. I hope a lot of folks read it. Well I hate to break it to you but there is actually no blood in muscles. ” If it was not the best steak you ever eaten is, because you SCREW it up.. I didn’t really know any of that. Both myoglobin and oxymyoglobin have the ability to lose their oxidation which results in a brown color called metmyoglobin. Back story… this woman bought these steaks, opened them up, turned them over, and found this…. I work in Agriculture and even I’m suspicious of gray/brown meat and always threw it away (saddened by the thought of no burger or $teak). It amazing to me the. Ground beef stored at room temperature for more than two hours activates the harmful bacteria. After cooking, the light and dark portions of a turkey appear light brown and dark brown, respectively. Flavor issues are not a thing that anyone would like in their ground beef. Basically this is what gives us rare, medium rare, medium, well done, etc. He took one home, he did as I told him, He is one of the best costumer.and, only god knows how many costumers he sent in my way. Thanks David! Possibly, but that’s not really the right measure to see if you’re hamburger meat is bad. For example, cure (sodium nitrite) turns raw meat a brownish-grey color (think of a cured, uncooked salami) if it comes in direct contact with a meat surface, but if that same meat is then heated, the sodium nitrite turns the meat a pinkish color (much like ham). When you see red meat in the grocery store, it’s because it is a. actually fresh  and b. allowed oxygen to keep it that red color. Another indicator of spoiled meat is tacky or sticky to the touch. Just trying to figure out what it means – I don’t feel like I’ve thought our most recent 1/2 pig supplier used all that good of a smokehouse.. Great blog post, this is the kind of good information we need to get out to consumers every day to help promote good education about meat products. That red liquid you see is actually water mixing with a protein that gives meat its red color, myoglobin. So glad you shed light on this! Well I hate to break it to you but there is actually no blood in muscles. Fresh beef will be bright red in color, but it may have a few brown spots in the middle since ground beef is taken from different parts of the cow. Use the three indicators given to diagnose if it’s spoiled or not. Use these three factors in diagnosing spoiled meat: does it smell, is it sticky, AND does it have color change? GREAT blog post! This is awesome! It's also important to keep in mind that ground meat can still go rotten in the freezer. However, if the meat is showing signs of gray or brown discoloration throughout, it's time to say goodbye. As long as the beef you are storing is not malodorous, it is most likely okay to cook and consume it. A green or brownish color on the surface is a clear sign that the meat is bad. The number one indicator of spoiled meat is in fact smell. Next, you need to examine the color of the steak. Freezer burn or protein denaturation -- which don't pose health risks, but may make the meat unpalatable -- could also be the cause. Last week a Sonoma limo driver “MIKE KELLY” was telling me what sob I was 11 years ago when I refuse to sell him a tri tip whit no spices on it. This happens because as meat is chilled/frozen for long periods of time, enzyme activity decreases so the myoglobin and oxygen quit mixing together to keep meat that bright red color. Also, this same process is the reason meat does indeed turn brown when you cook it. Meat that changes color is one of the things that food poisoning experts never eat. Thanks Daren! This essentially means that meat can turn from a bright red color (which many associate with fresh) to a brown color from a lack of oxygen. Thanks! This is more than likely the case from the photo above. So if color isn’t an indicator of spoiled meat, what is…? The changing from red to brown and even the purplish color to red occurs quite easily in meat, the reverse is much difficult. Although meat may turn brown after just a few days, it is usually still good to eat. A rotten one has brown or black spots throughout the flesh . The mold has started to grow and it is unsafe to be consumed. I do occasionally see one that doesn’t look/smell quite. Fact: Red meat products are somewhat like sliced apples. Brown sausage is a signal that the sausage is going bad. For red meat and steak, it is 1-3 days if it is raw and 7-10 days if it is cooked and kept on the recommended temperature. It is very useful to housewives like me. Thank you for the information, and the small world story!! Their color can change rapidly – even though the product is still safe and wholesome. Required fields are marked *, Copyright Food Answers. “Spoilage bacteria,” though generally harmless, can make meat smell bad and cause other signs of deterioration. He, finally cave in. However, if the meat is showing signs of gray or brown discoloration throughout, it's time to say goodbye. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Oxygen can’t readily make its way through or penetrate the ground beef so it begins to lose its red color on the inside after time. Massively helpful for an ignorant cook like me! I would hope that this will either a. help families make better purchasing decisions or b. keep them from wasting food that is indeed good to eat! It is extremely important to properly inspect the meat you are keeping refrigerated before eating it, … awesome advice, very friendly and instructive. Browning of meat can also occur with meat that has been chilled for a long period of time (about 5 days), ie: taken home from the grocery store and placed in your fridge for some time. I think it is more then 2 years since a costumer came back telling me that steak was not too good. It’s normal for meat to change color slightly due to oxidation. Thanks Jenny! I love this I’ve got to give you a huge Thanks and thumbs up! Usually the meat is beginning to dry out. Thanks Janice! Glad I could put some science behind this! It is okay to eat beef that has turned brown as long as it is still pink on the inside and does not have a foul odor at all, as it is an indication that the meat has gone bad. All rights reserved -. Brown meat!? If you don’t yet see film on your steak, but it has a strange color, like more brown, yellow, or green than the bright, purplish red color it should have, you might also have spoiled beef. Brown or gray hamburger can be very unappetizing, but the color change doesn't necessarily mean you can't eat the meat. It also may not have a “bad”appearance to it yet. So it’s extremely essential to place your ground beef inside a … A tainted burger can appear, and in fact be, perfectly "fresh." This is also the reason why your ground beef from the store may be red on the outside but brown on the inside. I am surprised by the number of people who either bring us meat or call us to ask about meat being spoiled. I feel it is good have the information’s in black and white otherwise there is always around the smart ass the ask “how you know that” About the no BS attitude, you are right. I always look in the “manager’s special” bin at the grocery store and buy a lot of aged (brown) steaks at half price! This discoloration can result from oxygen exposure to the meat. Keep this sort of thing coming- it’s very helpful to this Mama! It will look gray. If the face cut of the N.Y.. strip is dark, I reface it with cutting off a thin slice for myself. But that does not mean it is spoiled. This will help me know when that might be a bad purchase. You can expect the beef you put in your refrigerator to turn brown around five days after it goes in, due to certain chemical changes which occur. No worries: simply cut the discolored sections away and the rest of the meat should be fine. Cooking with venison is a great way to use up fresh deer meat that you've purchased or hunted for yourself. That’s right. This is not anything any of us in the meat industry have heard of nor have we found information to supply this so-called practice. But yes, sometimes there is a fine line. She sent me this photo…. Mince meat is still safe to eat when it starts to turn brown. This doesn’t mean it is unsafe but the taste might not be as good. THANKS! As meat ages it turns brown from oxidation. Thanks for sharing! Brown meat is OKAY to eat.. All of the protein is not affected at the same time which is why you get different variations of a reddish color at different temperature points. So we’ve established once meat turns brown, it’s hard for it to turn back to that red color. Great to read this! More than once my urban friends are aghast at seeing me buying beef from the store. I hope that my contributions hopefully and at least educate one person out there, if not many! Remember, how to tell if chicken is bad comes down to color, texture, and odor. Meat can also turn brown if any sort of contamination that would cause a chemical reaction comes in contact with it. Excellent post. You’ve just saved my dinner. I really liked how you explained the science behind this. All the blood is removed from the animal when it is slaughtered. Thanks for the info Jenny! Although I don’t know this woman, I wish I would have been able to let this woman know her steaks were perfectly fine. Smell has been my number one indicator of spoiled meat! Brown meat!? That is why grocery stores utilize a small film over their products versus a vacuum package. Slimy meat (not juicy) is also a great indicator of spoilage. I looked him strait in the eye and told him. One myth I see commonly brought up is that old meat is dyed red. All the blood is removed from the animal when it is slaughtered. “The problem is that if you leave it brown for too long, all those oxidized pigments will cause the fat to oxidize, and that will cause some flavor issues.”. Excellent blog post! Meat is allowed to be red in … Helpful for our buying local meat shopping habits for sure. Colors indicating spoiled turkey meat include red, green and yellow. Myth: If Meat Turns Brown, That Means It Is Spoiled. Many people believe that if their fresh beef has turned brown, that means it has spoiled. I, too, hope this post sheds some light on that! Damn you, damn you! Beef just as wholesome, nutritious and delicious as that I would raise and at a cost LOWER than what I could produce the individual cut for. Seems a small thing but touch & smell are all relative. So if you happen to open up a package of meat looking like the photo above, please don’t throw it away simply because of its color. Dark Meat: It's the New White. If all three or at least two of three are present (even with NO color change) than it’s probably alright to toss it rather than risk getting sick. For your ground meat to remain edible you should not have done a few things before freezing. Huh!? By now, you've probably heard that eating meat is bad for you. Your ground beef will turn more grey the longer you keep it. Exercised muscles are always darker in color. Because muscles differ greatly in activity, their oxygen demand varies which in turn means the same animal can have variations of color in its muscles. I’m not quite sure how the curing/smoking process goes. Typically a portion of meat that hasn’t been thoroughly cured but cooked will turn a gray/brown color. You want the best, you do it in this way, if you want screw this piece of meat in your way, you don’t belong here, Go to Safeway, you will save few bucks. Browning of meat can also occur when oxygen partial pressure is low or basically when meat is stacked on top of one another. One thing with that though is you need to know what should smell like generally. It will smell strong and earthy. Step 2 - Examine the Color of the Steak. Thank you! Giving away this ranchers secret way of getting inexpensive meat! If the natural pink hue is gone or has turned to black, gray or green, the meat may have spoiled because of contamination of yeast, mold or bacteria. 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