If you've purchased a package of fresh duck meat, Chef's Best, a cooking website, recommends you choose meat that has a smooth, creamy appearance. Fresh duck meat should be free of lesions, cuts or bruises. Additionally, if you suspect the duck meat is bad, check the color, texture and smell before you prepare and consume it.
Observe the color. While duck meat, along with goose, is inherently darker in color, spoiled meat takes on either a yellowish-greenish or grayish cast. This discoloration occurs when colonies of bacteria reproduce on the surface of the raw duck meat.
Feel the texture of the meat. Fresh duck meat should feel wet but not slimy. A slimy surface is indicative of bacterial growth. The book "Poultry Meat Processing" suggests that a slimy surface occurs when bacteria feed and metabolize poultry muscle. Sliminess is a byproduct.
Sniff the duck meat. Though duck meat is naturally gamy, spoiled duck meat assumes a putrid odor. According to the website Chefs Best, fresh duck meat should smell clean without odors. A sulfur, "skunky" or moldy dishrag smell is evidence of S. putrefaciens and Pseudomonas, both odor-producing bacteria present on spoiled chicken and duck.
Though good hygiene is a given, especially when you handle raw poultry and game birds, if you suspect your fresh duck meat is spoiled, use bleach or a good sanitizing cleaner and wipe all surfaces. Wash all utensils and cutting surfaces with hot, soapy water and discard the sponge used to wipe counters. Most importantly, wash your hands.
- US Department of Agriculture: Duck and Goose from Farm to Table
- World Health Organization: Food Safety and Foodborne Illness
- Department of Microbiology, University of Surrey: A Study of Bacteria
- Chefs Best: Duck
- Food Safety and Inspection Service: Microbiology of Commercially Sterile and Shelf-Stable Products
- Poultry Meat Processing: Common Bacteria in Spoiled Poultry
- ATTRA: Avian Influenza in Free-Range and Organic Poultry Production
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Food Safety: Bacteria, Spoilage
- Food Safety and Inspection Service: California Firm Recalls Duck for Possible Listeria
- Demesne: Storing Foods in Refrigerator and Freezer
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Salmonella Questions and Answers
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: The Color of Meat and Poultry