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A Tell It All Guide On How To Detect Meat Spoilage And Subsequently, Prevent It

How long meat lasts depends on a variety of factors; this includes the kind of meat it is, how it has been stored, where it is processed or not and a few more others. For this guide, meat includes red meat, poultry, and seafood exhibit different signs when they start to spoil. However, what some don't know is that detecting spoilage is as easy as examining the texture, smell, and color of the meat. Read on for the basic tell-tale signs of meat spoilage as well as how to prevent it from happening again.

By Cookist


1. Examine the smell of the meat


One of the earliest signs of meat spoilage is a potently rancid odor. This comes off of any spoiled meat, and that includes seafood, which starts to smell "fishy" when it spoils.

No meat, whether it is seafood, poultry, or red, should have a detectable foul smell. If yours does, then it is not safe for eating. Quick removal from storage is advised to prevent the pungent odor from spreading.

2. Examine the meat's texture as well as other unusual features that may appear on it


When the meat starts to rot, microbial activity may begin to become noticeable in the form of molds and an unusual texture. For spoiled red and poultry meat, molds and a mucus-like coating are usually apparent, giving it a sticky or slimy texture.

3. Check the color of the meat


A discoloration of meat is yet another vital sign of spoilage. Fresh meat should have a pinkish-red color or be colorless, at least. If you spot a grayish, greenish, or black color on any part of the flesh, it is not safe for eating.

4. Check the expiration date if the meat is packaged


If the meat is packaged, the expiration date is a quick and easy way to detect if it has spoiled. Averagely, the shelf life for red meat is approximately 1-3 days if it is raw and 7-10 days if it is cooked.

When yours passes this time, discard it to avoid food poisoning. However, an excellent way to prolong the lifespan of meat is by freezing it; a freezer is your best pal when it comes to conserving the taste and freshness of meat.

5. How to determine if your seafood is fresh


You can easily determine the freshness of seafood by checking its skin. If fresh, it should have shiny skin, almost like it would look if it has just come out of the water.

Also, check for discoloration at the eyes and gills. Typically, the eyes should be crystal clear, and the gills, a beautiful pink.

6. Check live seafood before you cook it.


Seafood is best eaten fresh, which means they must be cooked alive. This includes oysters, clams, shellfish, and mussels, which rapidly spoil after they die.

To detect signs of life, tap them to make sure their shell closes when touched and pay attention to crabs and lobsters for leg movement before cooking. Never eat shellfish that have been dead for hours before you want to cook it.

Overall, we advise that you thoroughly examine meat before you purchase, and just before you start cooking. Here are a few tips that will help you prevent the meat from spoiling fast:

  • Avoid leaving your meat outside the fridge or freezer for too long at a time. The best way to thaw meat is slowly using a microwave or transferring it from the freezer to the refrigerator.
  • Freezing meat is the best storage option for you.
  • Make sure to seal meat before placing it in the freezer to prevent freezer hurt, which can alter its taste.
  • Always check the internal temperature of the meat when cooking to make sure it is thoroughly cooked.
  • For meats that are eaten raw e.g., seafood, observe good hygiene while cooking and follow cooking instructions as best as possible.
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