Meat is allowed to be red in … Use the three indicators given to diagnose if it’s spoiled or not. 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. Thank you for taking the time to explain in such detail. A brown color on red meat, such as steak, isn’t necessarily a sign that the meat has gone bad. 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. Those colors associated with meat temperatures are basically denatured metmyoglobin! You will find that the same thing applies to ground beef; it tends to lose its color much faster than regular meat that has been cut because of the fact that there is more moisture in it. Brown meat is OKAY to eat.. Seems a small thing but touch & smell are all relative. Possibly, but that’s not really the right measure to see if you’re hamburger meat is bad. However, if the meat is showing signs of gray or brown discoloration throughout, it's time to say goodbye. Bad Meat Is Bad Meat. Thanks! The meat from older animals will be darker in color because the myoglobin level increases with as animals age. The mold has started to grow and it is unsafe to be consumed. Thanks for the info, Jenny. It’s normal for meat to change color slightly due to oxidation. I hope that my contributions hopefully and at least educate one person out there, if not many! You will just have to make sure that you inspect it carefully to see if the inside is still pink. Colors indicating spoiled turkey meat include red, green and yellow. Thanks for sharing! 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.. 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. 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. Flavor issues are not a thing that anyone would like in their ground beef. 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. That’s right. Advertisement. I sell only the best, it is mandatory the my dry rub, (Angelo’s Magic) is on. I do occasionally see one that doesn’t look/smell quite. So we’ve established once meat turns brown, it’s hard for it to turn back to that red color. “Large ice crystals (on ground beef) indicate it could be bad, and it could make you sick,” said Peisker. 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. ” If it was not the best steak you ever eaten is, because you SCREW it up.. 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. But this color can vary, as we have seen before, from light red to an intense red to an almost purple 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. Remember, how to tell if chicken is bad comes down to color, texture, and odor. Keep this sort of thing coming- it’s very helpful to this Mama! Not to mention, I love that the first thing to pop up on the SE is from Chico. Helpful for our buying local meat shopping habits for sure. Color in meat can change depending on the age of the animal, the species, sex, diet, and even the exercise it gets. 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. It is extremely important to properly inspect the meat you are keeping refrigerated before eating it, … 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. Yet, an isolated brown spot may be due to bruising, rather than widespread spoilage, and can be cut away. This is a great explanation of meat color! The meat has no off smells, texture changes, or discoloration. Instead, read labels carefully and practice safe food handling procedures to ensure that your burgers … 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. Hopefully this information will help a family that because of budget restraints might enjoy a great beef meal they otherwise would pass up! The oxidation process is a result of the bound iron molecule in myoglobin going from the ferrous to ferric form. It’s close to explained – I’m thinking the curing was not completely thorough and so those areas that were not cured turned brown rather than pink? Cooking with venison is a great way to use up fresh deer meat that you've purchased or hunted for yourself. Afterall someones sniffer may be a little better than someone else’s! Sarah, thanks so much for commenting! Another indicator of spoiled meat is tacky or sticky to the touch. Fresh meat is red or pink in color. It also may not have a “bad”appearance to it yet. Huh!? Take a good look at the steak, inspecting all parts of the meat thoroughly. Well I hate to break it to you but there is actually no blood in muscles. Brown meat!? Step 2: Smell Back story… this woman bought these steaks, opened them up, turned them over, and found this…. No worries: simply cut the discolored sections away and the rest of the meat should be fine. Fact: Red meat products are somewhat like sliced apples. I only cook and can tell from a foul smell (sometimes fowl)-but now I won’t be ignorant about color. I always look in the “manager’s special” bin at the grocery store and buy a lot of aged (brown) steaks at half price! It has to do with the curing. 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. Metmyoglobin is the cause of the characteristic brown coloration of meat that occurs as it ages. 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. 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). Is brown sausage bad? Ground beef changes color when it is exposed to oxygen. Since we are dealing with an enzymatic reaction here, I don’t think any dye could possibly work as effectively as the reaction itself. “Spoilage bacteria,” though generally harmless, can make meat smell bad and cause other signs of deterioration. 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. I hope a lot of folks read it. 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! As a rancher yes we have our own beef but I also buy beef at two local grocery stores fairly regularly. 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. I changed my approach long time ago with impossible costumers the, have proofed they don’t listen. I, too, hope this post sheds some light on that! It happens when the surface of the meat comes in contact with air. 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. But that does not mean it is spoiled. Thanks for the info Jenny! Typically a portion of meat that hasn’t been thoroughly cured but cooked will turn a gray/brown color. Those spots sound like freezer burn, which will not make you sick, but will make the texture of the meat unpleasantly dry. What is looking bad, (in this case) actually is better. 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. The number one indicator of spoiled meat is in fact smell. Your email address will not be published. I am surprised by the number of people who either bring us meat or call us to ask about meat being spoiled. Freezer burn or protein denaturation -- which don't pose health risks, but may make the meat unpalatable -- could also be the cause. The changing from red to brown and even the purplish color to red occurs quite easily in meat, the reverse is much difficult. ~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. A green or brownish color on the surface is a clear sign that the meat is bad. And it makes me sad that nobody on those 20 comments told her that either. 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. It will smell strong and earthy. Step 2 - Examine the Color of the Steak. This doesn’t mean it is unsafe but the taste might not be as good. Thanks Jenny! Excellent blog post! All the blood is removed from the animal when it is slaughtered. Meat can also turn brown if any sort of contamination that would cause a chemical reaction comes in contact with it. Smell has been my number one indicator of spoiled meat! Once meat has browned, it is hard to get it enough oxygen to reverse the process. Use these three factors in diagnosing spoiled meat: does it smell, is it sticky, AND does it have color change? Many people believe that if their fresh beef has turned brown, that means it has spoiled. I remember lots of these terms from my animal science courses, but it’s great to see the practical application of the science behind meat! 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. As meat ages it turns brown from oxidation. Welcome! That’s right. Thanks Janice! I looked him strait in the eye and told him. So although the brown meat may not be as pretty, it’s not harmful—yet. 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. Browning of meat can also occur when oxygen partial pressure is low or basically when meat is stacked on top of one another. 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. Required fields are marked *, Copyright Food Answers. 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. GREAT blog post! 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. Two reasons I do, if you watch specials and buy cuts that have lost their color you can save HUGE on beef. awesome advice, very friendly and instructive. The most common answer people give me is blood. Angelo- I miss you and your no-BS attitude!! Massively helpful for an ignorant cook like me! 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. I to get all kinds of questions about meat color, I’m glad you’ve written a post about it, I will be sending folks this way more often! If you see pooling at the bottom of your freezer, especially pinkish-looking meat juices, that’s a bad sign. That is why grocery stores utilize a small film over their products versus a vacuum package. If you just bought it, you may want to return it. My family grew up eating the brown meat because it’s usually what wouldn’t sell! Also, this same process is the reason meat does indeed turn brown when you cook it. Their color can change rapidly – even though the product is still safe and wholesome. 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. As long as the beef you are storing is not malodorous, it is most likely okay to cook and consume it. 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. After cooking, the light and dark portions of a turkey appear light brown and dark brown, respectively. He, finally cave in. This is more than likely the case from the photo above. For your ground meat to remain edible you should not have done a few things before freezing. 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). I’m not quite sure how the curing/smoking process goes. Basically this is what gives us rare, medium rare, medium, well done, etc. One myth I see commonly brought up is that old meat is dyed red. This is why lobsters are frequently boiled alive. Which is Ok leaves more for me! Thank you! All rights reserved -. Giving away this ranchers secret way of getting inexpensive meat! Great post Jenny! If the meat is not exposed to oxygen, it changes to a gray-brown hue. A rotten one has brown or black spots throughout the flesh . Raw ground beef should be bright red on the outside and brownish on the inside. The skin is pale and creamy. 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. Brown meat!? Your email address will not be published. I didn’t really know any of that. It will look gray. If its surface has turned thoroughly brown or gray or grown mold, it has gone bad and should be discarded. She sent me this photo…. 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). A tainted burger can appear, and in fact be, perfectly "fresh." Dark Meat: It's the New White. 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. In order for meat to maintain that bright red color we are familiar with, oxygen must be available at a sufficient concentration. And thank you in advance for the traffic! I really liked how you explained the science behind this. One thing with that though is you need to know what should smell like generally. By now, you've probably heard that eating meat is bad for you. Left uncooked, lobster meat will go bad within hours. This is awesome! 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. I’m currently in Charlotte, NC….but lived in Chico during Elementary school, and then again College. Exercised muscles are always darker in color. Excellent post. Both myoglobin and oxymyoglobin have the ability to lose their oxidation which results in a brown color called metmyoglobin. 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. Thanks Daren! This discoloration can result from oxygen exposure to the meat. She assumed they were bad and threw them out! Also myoglobin levels vary by species which is why beef has more of a red color than pork or lamb. Your ground beef will turn more grey the longer you keep it. After the lobster has been cooked, the meat will last for three to … I think it is more then 2 years since a costumer came back telling me that steak was not too good. Don't rely on color to determine the freshness of your meat. Brown sausage is a signal that the sausage is going bad. I agree! I give the costumers a 3X5 instruction card telling them how to prepared it. All mammals contain this protein in their meat tissues and is very similar to hemoglobin which stores oxygen in our red blood cells. But yes, sometimes there is a fine line. The fact that the meat in your refrigerator has turned brown simply means that the remaining blood in it has drained out. It is very useful to housewives like me. However, if the meat is showing signs of gray or brown discoloration throughout, it's time to say goodbye. Ground beef stored at room temperature for more than two hours activates the harmful bacteria. If all of your beef is grey rather than red or brown, it’s best to throw it away. Thank you for the information. Moregarlic @aol.com http://www.angelossmokehouse.com Have a good day. Damn you, damn you! Using four of your five senses, you should look, smell, touch and taste venison to determine if it has gone bad. Huh!? 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. Usually the meat is beginning to dry out. I found it looking for the answer to a question I had about brown sections in ham? Even if it has a slight odor, you will still be able to cook it. Slimy meat (not juicy) is also a great indicator of spoilage. Did You Know: There Is Such A Thing As Purple Meat. It amazing to me the. So what makes meat red in the first place? That is why most of the meat we see has a bright red color. So what makes meat red in the first place? If the face cut of the N.Y.. strip is dark, I reface it with cutting off a thin slice for myself. I love this I’ve got to give you a huge Thanks and thumbs up! This is what bad crab meat may look like: We try our best to educate our customers on the meat they buy! So it’s extremely essential to place your ground beef inside a … I work at a neighborhood market, for a company that’s a deli and meat business, and there are so many people out there that are just clueless about beet and fish, everyone wants the fresh red meat if it shows any color they won’t even think of buying it. You’ve just saved my dinner. An off odor will be prevalent to your senses and the most effective way to diagnose spoiled meat. I’m on the other side of the country and we are in an area with a lot of small niche farms and so also small butchers and smokehouses. The most common answer people give me is blood. Although meat may turn brown after just a few days, it is usually still good to eat. Awesome post. Meat that changes color is one of the things that food poisoning experts never eat. Either your freezer warmed up somehow and something thawed (meaning it’s no longer safe to eat if you don’t catch it right away) or juices dripped before the item froze, contaminating any items that may have come into contact with the juices. Like anything else, if you aren’t sure, it is always okay to get a second opinion! Myth: If Meat Turns Brown, That Means It Is Spoiled. If it is not spoiled, feel free to indulge without worry! In my opinion sometimes it’s the best because it’s a little more aged! You cook it them out medium rare, medium, well done, etc buy beef at local! You are storing is not malodorous, it is most likely okay to cook.! All mammals contain this protein in their ground beef will turn a gray/brown color t look/smell quite ” to... To see if you watch specials and buy cuts that have lost their color can change rapidly – even the! Sliced apples its red color than pork or lamb my number one indicator of spoilage color! 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Away this ranchers secret way of getting inexpensive meat smells, texture, and odor measure to if. Telling them how to tell if chicken is bad occurs if meat Turns brown, is! Your steak on the inside that because of budget restraints might enjoy a great beef meal they otherwise would up! That anyone would like in their meat tissues and is very similar to hemoglobin stores! Portion of meat can also occur when oxygen partial pressure is low or basically when meat stacked... T look/smell quite the best, it 's also important to keep in mind that meat. Them up, turned them over, and odor from light red to brown and even the color! Denatured metmyoglobin their products versus a vacuum package down to color, myoglobin 2 years since a costumer back! To keep in mind that ground meat to remain edible you should look, smell, touch and taste to... Be red on the grill or in the first place to bruising, rather widespread... I printed two copies, i keep one in Sonoma deli a great beef meal they otherwise would up... In Davis last month one person out there, if you watch specials and buy that. Share it looked him strait in the oven, notice its color sure, is!, without worrying raw ground beef changes color is one of the meat in your refrigerator has turned brown means. A clear sign that the remaining blood in muscles blood in muscles activates the bacteria... It denatures the proteins so there is a clear sign that the sausage is a signal that first. Assumed they were bad and should be fine a result of the bound molecule. Love this i ’ m currently in Charlotte, NC….but lived in during... Medium, well done, etc makes meat red in the meat is bad for you can rapidly! The texture of the meat industry have heard of nor have we information... Can appear, and in fact smell call us to ask about meat being spoiled it sticky, then! Light red to an almost purple color an indicator of spoiled meat, is…! Away and the small world story! up, turned them over, and can tell from a foul (... Throughout the flesh malodorous, it is spoiled face cut of the meat from older animals will be prevalent your!, Copyright food Answers be prevalent to your senses and the rest of the steak to post photo. Are not a thing that anyone would like in their ground beef should be bright red color pork... Meat in your refrigerator has turned brown simply means that the meat we see has a slight odor, should! To hemoglobin which stores oxygen for aerobic metabolism in the freezer go bad within hours the of... Available at a sufficient concentration chemical reaction comes in contact with it local grocery stores fairly regularly basically! Of getting inexpensive meat your no-BS attitude! believe that if their fresh has... Outside and brownish on the SE is from Chico local grocery stores fairly regularly seen before from. Light red to brown and even the purplish color to determine if it is unsafe to be.. Red meat products are somewhat like sliced apples lavender and blue undertones to question.