How to Tell if Beef Is Fresh

Determine the quality of beef by checking its texture, color and odor.
Determine the quality of beef by checking its texture, color and odor. (Image: Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images)

Beef is a succulent and wholesome meat that you can prepare in a variety of ways. However, when purchasing beef you must ensure that the meat you choose is fresh and safe for consumption. Stale meat is a breeding ground for bacterial growth and foodborne illnesses. Keep your family safe and healthy by identifying and choosing fresh beef. Use the texture, color and odor of beef to help you determine whether the meat is fresh and safe for consumption.

Check the “use-by” date printed on the beef package. This date is an indicator of the freshness of the beef. Purchase and use the beef before the “use-by” date expires. The quality of the beef greatly diminishes after the “use-by” date.

Observe the texture of the beef, which should be moist. If the beef has a slimy texture or feels sticky to the touch, it is spoiled.

Examine the color of the beef. Fresh beef portions are red in color with creamy white fat sections. An off-color brown or gray signals that the beef has spoiled due to improper storage or has undergone prolonged refrigeration.

Smell the beef. If it has a stale, cardboardlike odor that persists, the meat is spoiled and not suitable for consumption.


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