Know What Happens If You Eat Bad Ground Beef To Avoid Health Risk

what happens if you eat bad ground beef

Do you feel like you’ve eaten bad ground beef and are afraid of what might happen to you now? Well, it’s a vital matter to discuss as it’s regarding your health. What happens if you eat bad ground beef? -Eating bad ground beef can sometimes lead to food poisoning or foodborne illness, which can be dangerous to your health. Even sometimes, you need to seek medical attention. Thankfully, you can prevent your beef from going bad.

In this article, we’ll discuss what probably happens if you eat bad ground beef and when you should see a doctor. You’ll also learn the 4 easy tricks to test your ground beef, whether it’s going well or bad.

Let’s get started!

What Happens If You Eat Bad Ground Beef?

If you eat bad ground beef, you have a high chance of getting food poisoning. Several bacteria can grow in bad beef and cause different foodborne illnesses.

If You Keep The Beef Out Of The Refrigerators Too Long

When you leave the ground meat exposed to the air, it can be highly vulnerable to growing bacteria. Pathogenic bacteria can grow in spoiled ground beef because of insufficient refrigeration. They thrive in low temperatures and cause food poisoning, which leads to diarrhea and vomiting. And surprisingly, it happens with up to 48 million Americans in a year.

If you eat ground meat that has been left out of refrigeration for way too long, having an odd smell and dirty gray look, then maybe there is campylobacter, Listeria grows in high, or maybe even botulinum. Food left at room temperature is ideal for rapidly growing disease-causing microorganisms and spoiling the food.

Though the cooking process usually destroys much of the foodborne pathogens, some could still be left.

Even if they survive, your stomach acid will kill them. Thus you might not feel any side effects. In case you get affected, these symptoms are mild to full-blown. Mild symptoms can be a slight bit of nausea or some loose stool.

If You Eat Ground Beef Stored In The Freezer Way Too Long

Bacterias also grow in beef when it remains in the freezer for too long. Spoiled meat in the fridge can carry a bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes that cause various illnesses, for human-like flu symptoms.

Additionally, spoilage bacteria can lead to encephalitis, meningitis, and septicemia. Sometimes it can also cause intrauterine or cervical infections among pregnant women.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, this spoilage bacteria can manifest without symptoms in healthy individuals. But older people, children, cancer patients, or pregnant women suffer most from this bacteria. The mortality rate of active illness resulting from Listeria monocytogenes causes less than 500 deaths annually in the United States.

Bad ground beef is dangerous because it can contain pathogenic bacteria that cause the following foodborne illness. 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea

If you have food poisoning, it is usually mild and resolves without treatment. But sometimes, people must go to the hospital in serious cases.

When You Must Go To Hospital?

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms below, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

  • Bloody vomit or stool
  • Diarrhea for more than three days
  • Frequent vomiting and inability to keep liquids down
  • Signs or symptoms of dehydration such as dry mouth, excessive thirst, little or no urination, dizziness, severe weakness, or lightheadedness
  • Extreme pain and severe abdomen cramping
  • If the oral temperature is higher than 100.4 F (38 C)
  • Muscle weakness, blurry Vision, and tingling in the arms

What Is The Duration Of Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning symptoms usually last four to seven days. But in rare cases, some strains of bacteria can cause symptoms for up to 10 days.

However, the duration also depends on your health condition, age, and immunity. Children, older people, or those with low immunity can experience food poisoning complications longer than usual.

How To Check Whether The Ground Beef Has Gone Bad?

Bad ground beef looks pale and discolored, and an odd smell comes from it. However, you can easily check and be sure whether your ground beef has gone bad within 4 simple steps.

Check The Beef Color

Fresh beef looks bright red. Sometimes you can notice a few dark brown spots in the middle. That’s normal because ground beef is taken from the different body parts of the cow.

Otherwise, pre-packaged ground beef develops a greyish-brown color in its interior because its center doesn’t come in contact with oxygen.

But when you observe that your ground beef usually turns into a dull brown or grey color on the outside instead of bright red or brown, it might begin to go bad, and you should throw it away right now.

In addition, if you see any grey, fuzzy blue, and green spots in your cooked ground beef, possibly the mold spoiled the meat, and you should toss your leftovers immediately.

Test The Smell

The smell of fresh ground beef and bad ground beef is completely different. So if you feel any bad smell from your beef, it might be rotten. And this smell test is applicable both for raw and cooked beef.

Fresh beef has a slight smell, but you’ll get a rotten and sour odor when it starts to go bad. These smells are caused due to gases made by some of the bacteria in your beef. So if there is any strong smell, throw the meat away.

However, some pathogenic bacteria don’t produce any gases or smells but cause food poisons like salmonella. It can even be found in fresh beef. In that case, you should always cook the beef well so that the bacteria destroys in the heat. Nevertheless, if you feel anything wrong with the beef’s flavor, avoid eating it.

Inspect By Touching

Another way to inspect the bad meat is by doing a touch test.

Touch the meat to see if you feel it slim. Squeeze the meat in your fingers and feel the consistency. If it’s fresh, the meat will have a relatively firm consistency that breaks apart easily in your hand and separates into chunks.

But when the meat goes bad, it will be sticky and have a slimy texture. It can happen with both cooked and uncooked ground beef due to the presence of spoilage bacteria.

On the whole, when your raw or cooked ground beef is sticky and has a thin consistency, you should realize that the meat has gone bad.

Tips: Ensure to wash your hands every time you touch the raw beef to avoid spreading bacteria from one surface to another.

Check The Expiration Date

Check out the sell-by date on your ground beef packaging. It’s easy to determine whether your ground beef is good or bad.

A sell-by date tells the retailer how many days the product will sell well. Raw ground beef is safe to use only 1/2 day after the recommended sell-by date.

Meanwhile, the expiration date- is also labeled with “best to use before..” That indicates you have to use this beef before the date so that it will be alright.

Check your calendar and calculate how many days have passed since you bought it. If you freeze the beef, it can be used within a few days after expiration, but if it is too old, consider throwing it away.

Tips: When buying ground beef, check the product label carefully.

How To Store The Ground Meat Properly?

Prevention is always better than defense. If you have already suffered from food poisoning from bad beef, be careful the next time. Proper storing and handling of ground beef are vital to avoid food poisoning. So here are a few tips for storing ground beef safely.

  • If you have to cook the meat soon, store the raw ground beef in the refrigerator below or at 40°F (4°C). If you leave out the beef at room temperature, harmful bacteria colonies will start to grow within 2 hours. So make sure not to leave the ground beef at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Also, not more than one hour in the refrigerator if it’s above 90°F (32°C).
  • If you cook the beef later, freeze it right then.
  • You can keep the raw beef in the freezer for up to 4 months. Remember to store the ground beef in freezer-safe plastic bags and label them with the sell-by date mentioned on the packaging. Squeeze the air out of the bag before sealing it so it can conserve freezer space.
  • If you’re storing cooked ground meat, cook it to 160°F (71°C) before eating it. Because it’s the only way to ensure killing all-natural bacteria,. Use a meat thermometer with which you can easily maintain the right temperature.
  • You can safely store the cooked ground beef in the fridge for 7 days and in the freezer for up to 8 months. But make sure to storing it in an air-tight container to keep the quality and taste intact.

How To Handle Ground Beef Safely?

Here are also some tips to handle your ground beef safely to keep them in good condition.

  • While buying ground beef, choose the package that is cold to the touch and has no holes or scratches.
  • Check the expiration date and whether the meat color looks fresh.
  • Keep the raw meat separately from the other items in your cart to avoid cross-contamination or spreading bacteria to other food items.
  • The plastic bag in which you freeze the beef keeps it on the lowest shelf to avoid leaking juices.
  • You can thaw the beef in the fridge or a sink filled with cold water. If you’re planning to cook the ground beef, it’s best to transfer it to the fridge 1 to 2 days before you want to use it.
  • If you like to thaw the meat in a sink, use cold water to submerge the beef. Be sure to change the water every 30 minutes until the beef is completely thawed.
  • Once the beef is thawed, cook it right away. Never leave the meat to thaw at room temperature.
  • You can thaw the meat in the microwave too. But cook it right after finishing the thawing.

If you notice white freezer spots on the beef after a few months of freezing, cut off the areas, if only a few. But if the spot spreads rapidly, throw the meat away.

Final Verdict

No one wants to suffer from food poisoning as it’s very distressing. Though these issues mostly solve their own, without medications.

But staying previously cautious about not eating bad ground beef matters can help you to save yourself from any further foodborne disease.

So now that you know what happens if you eat bad ground beef, following our guidelines keep yourself protected and healthy!

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