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Meat experiment Answered

I don't have a fridge, so when I didn't eat this pound of minced beef for a bit too long I decided not to eat it at all. Then I didn't dispose of it, and then I became interested in not disposing of it. I'm not sure when I bought it, but it's probably 5 weeks ago. Apart from having seeped juice and reduced it's internal pressure it looks OK.

Any ideas as to whether this might be safe to eat if cooked? I plan on keeping it longer to see what happens...

17-MAY-2009 Panic! I lost the meat, after a while I found it under the grill which I rarely use. More than 2 months our of date and not much change (re-inflated a bit)


You gotta toss that. Something like that, that has been stored above 6°C/41°F needs to be tossed after 4 hrs. there is only a few things that are normally good, yogurt, eggs, cheese can sit out and you dont have to worry about. im a military food inspector so i deal with this stuff daily. every 30 min, the population of E. coli is doubling. If you have the serious E. coli O157:H7 festering in there then it only takes a hand full of those bugs to kill you. Staph could be growing from some careless butcher(it grows naturally in about 20% of the population), it forms heat stable toxins so even if you cook it you still can get sick. If you eat this meat today, even after cooking it, in my opinion your not going to work tomorrow.

!Dissapearing comment - it happened again. Thanks (again) L

If only this were a Question. I think Best Answer just showed up, and from an actual working professional, nonetheless!

there was a few good points brought up with a few answers down below. Maybe i should put together a safe foods instructable.

I think that would be a good idea. A lad at work was off sick this year due to undercooked chicken. Aye, go for it. L

Odd thing, I had milk in my fridge that was a full 10 days out of date yet perfectly fine... It could possibly be OK after a proper cooking but the whole toxins question is interesting...

I also thought I saw a show where a fellow purposely left things (fruits, veggies, and some meats) rot (in sealed jars) and later ate it....but he also recommended no one try it unless they know what they are doing, because they could become sick or die. I just can't find a reference to it now.....

. What makes spoiled meat dangerous? . If it is just bacteria, then thorough cooking should make it safe. Might not be palatable, but is shouldn't make you sick. . If a toxin is produced, there's probably not much you can do to make it safe.

If I remember correctly some toxins are broken down with cooking, but don't quote me there without further reference or citation ;-)

It is the "toxin" aspect that I am curious about. I guess there are no microbiologists around here? L

one way to tell in my area would be to open it and take it outside.....if the vultures and crows start gathering, I can bet I wouldn't eat it LOL

I hadn't thought of feeding the birds - that's a good idea. L

Well, depending on your area, other wildlife may get to it (opossums, raccoons, bears, or just plain ole fun loving fly maggots. . . )

Yeah, but I prefer crunchy beetle type insects (grasshoppers or ants for instance. ;-)

In my area, crows, rooks, foxes maybe (plus the obvious insects). No opossums, raccoons, or bears unfortunately. L

Well, you don't need bears knowing where you keep garbage or trash....they're as bad as raccoons for making a mess :-) along with being potentially dangerous.

Wasn't there that program on channel 4 around a year or so ago all about a man who ate just out of date food for a week with the period of out of date-ness growing each day. Anyway he cooked and ate out of date mince, I think it was a week or two out. I remember him saying that it smelt REALLY bad however the taste was fine... As long as he didn't smell it! Personally my limit is 1 day for out of date food, The amount of time it sits about on the shelves I'd rather not risk getting anything. But I still can't resist the reduced packs of smarties cookies and they get devoured on that night lol Good luck, If we don't hear from you in the next couple of days we'll know what happened.

Foods kept cold, or sealed are ok. It isn't like the food says, oh my word! its the 20th of the month, I have to go bad today; or anything. It is just the safe date, but then it is only aplicable if kept properly.....Lemonie's meat has not been properly chilled :-) and so the date means nothing.

I'd probably risk it with well-cured bacon (or a really expensive steak). I don't worry about eating stuff that's a week or two out of date. It's the lack of refridgeration that concerns me, and mere mince is not worth the risk!

I don't think I will, but wonder what kind of spoilage might occur in a sealed environment. In a few months I'll open it (maybe) L

Even though it appears to be sealed, it doesn't appear to be vacuum sealed (much of the air drawn out of it); and even then, I would be wary of it.

If it were a steak, I would be less concerned, because most of the bacteria would be on the outside edges, but with hamburger, it is mixed into the meat by means of the grinder and starts the decomposition right away throughout (although freezing slows it down tremendously, and refridgeration slows it down some). That's if this is beef. If this is some fowl, as in turkey meat, I would be even more cautious.

It's not vacuum-sealed, but it is hermetically sealed "in a protective atmosphere". However, that some of that "protective atmosphere" has been used or absorbed makes me wonder what it is/was.
It doesn't look mingy, but like a quantum experiment, we don't know until we open the box...


"In a protective atmosphere" means they have replaced the oxygen, either with nitrogen or carbon dioxide (it cuts down bacterial and fungal growth).

Maybe the volume reduction is down to a reaction with CO2? Possibly it is dissolving in what seems to be the escaping "added water"?

Yes, I thought about that. Nitrogen is an alternative, but I wouldn't have expected it to be utilised by bacteria in/on cow-flesh. So I'll go with CO2


According to wikipedia, they use CO2 with "non-respiring products" (properly dead stuff), and nitrogen with fruit and veg.

They also pack meat in Carbon Monoxide as it will keep the meat pink even as it decomposes.

Of course, eating non-refrigerated meat that has been sitting out for weeks = baaaad idea. Unless it was vacuum packed or freeze dried or something? It doesn't look like it, so I think it would be dangerous to eat. :-\

Thinking that it might be dangerous is stopping me from eating it, but waiting to see what happens is stopping me from throwing it out...
Thanks for the reassurance.