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.. Also, this same process is the reason meat does indeed turn brown when you cook it. 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. Yes, a brown section in a ham is a totally different issue. I always look in the “manager’s special” bin at the grocery store and buy a lot of aged (brown) steaks at half price! I agree! You’ve just saved my dinner. One myth I see commonly brought up is that old meat is dyed red. I changed my approach long time ago with impossible costumers the, have proofed they don’t listen. Thank you for the information, and the small world story!! She sent me this photo…. After cooking, the light and dark portions of a turkey appear light brown and dark brown, respectively. Fact: Red meat products are somewhat like sliced apples. Raw turkey meat has pink, lavender and blue undertones. THANKS! ” If it was not the best steak you ever eaten is, because you SCREW it up.. I am surprised by the number of people who either bring us meat or call us to ask about meat being spoiled. Basically this is what gives us rare, medium rare, medium, well done, etc. But this color can vary, as we have seen before, from light red to an intense red to an almost purple color. It’s normal for meat to change color slightly due to oxidation. Thanks so much for the comment! Looking forward to my steak now, without worrying! Two reasons I do, if you watch specials and buy cuts that have lost their color you can save HUGE on beef. Giving away this ranchers secret way of getting inexpensive meat! If the meat is not exposed to oxygen, it changes to a gray-brown hue. I looked him strait in the eye and told him. In my opinion sometimes it’s the best because it’s a little more aged! It will smell strong and earthy. 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). Damn you, damn you! Seems a small thing but touch & smell are all relative. Is brown sausage bad? That red liquid you see is actually water mixing with a protein that gives meat its red color, myoglobin. Great post Jenny! Did You Know: There Is Such A Thing As Purple Meat. 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. Thanks Daren! 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. So if you happen to open up a package of meat looking like the photo above, please don’t throw it away simply because of its color. 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. But that does not mean it is spoiled. I give the costumers a 3X5 instruction card telling them how to prepared it. That’s right. 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. So what makes meat red in the first place? I only cook and can tell from a foul smell (sometimes fowl)-but now I won’t be ignorant about color. If you see pooling at the bottom of your freezer, especially pinkish-looking meat juices, that’s a bad sign. What is looking bad, (in this case) actually is better. It's also important to keep in mind that ground meat can still go rotten in the freezer. Those colors associated with meat temperatures are basically denatured metmyoglobin! And you are right that smell and touch are relative, but they are the number one indicators we use to diagnose. Their color can change rapidly – even though the product is still safe and wholesome. ~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. However, if the meat is showing signs of gray or brown discoloration throughout, it's time to say goodbye. Being a beef producers daughter I always knew that it was ok, but never knew the science behind it. Your email address will not be published. I found it looking for the answer to a question I had about brown sections in ham? 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. “Large ice crystals (on ground beef) indicate it could be bad, and it could make you sick,” said Peisker. That’s right. It happens when the surface of the meat comes in contact with air. Great to read this! This essentially means that meat can turn from a bright red color (which many associate with fresh) to a brown color from a lack of oxygen. Ground beef stored at room temperature for more than two hours activates the harmful bacteria. Fresh meat is red or pink in color. A rotten one has brown or black spots throughout the flesh . Bacteria levels and spoilage aren't necessarily part of this process. 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. Next, you need to examine the color of the steak. Even if it has a slight odor, you will still be able to cook it. Myth: If Meat Turns Brown, That Means It Is Spoiled. All mammals contain this protein in their meat tissues and is very similar to hemoglobin which stores oxygen in our red blood cells. In fact, retail stores often discount red meat products that have changed color but are still safe and wholesome – and well within their shelf life. Before you throw your steak on the grill or in the oven, notice its color. I didn’t really know any of that. 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. However, if the meat is showing signs of gray or brown discoloration throughout, it's time to say goodbye. So glad you shed light on this! Raw ground beef should be bright red on the outside and brownish on the inside. The number one indicator of spoiled meat is in fact smell. 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). Thanks for the info, Jenny. Your email address will not be published. It also may not have a “bad”appearance to it yet. 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. Excellent blog post! 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. Left uncooked, lobster meat will go bad within hours. GREAT blog post! 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. “Spoilage bacteria,” though generally harmless, can make meat smell bad and cause other signs of deterioration. The changing from red to brown and even the purplish color to red occurs quite easily in meat, the reverse is much difficult. Your ground beef will turn more grey the longer you keep it. Typically a portion of meat that hasn’t been thoroughly cured but cooked will turn a gray/brown color. I printed two copies, I keep one in Petaluma and one in Sonoma deli. You might see just a few patches of discoloration rather than the whole steak slab, but spots of odd color are still a sign that you should avoid eating it. Glad I could put some science behind this! If all of your beef is grey rather than red or brown, it’s best to throw it away. 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. She assumed they were bad and threw them out! But once meat is cooked, it denatures the proteins so there is really no going back! Thank you! in a meat eating Country as america is, so many consumer’s minds are still in limbo about knowing what is good or bad in the meat’s world. I really liked how you explained the science behind this. Remember, how to tell if chicken is bad comes down to color, texture, and odor. 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. 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? The most common answer people give me is blood. 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. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Well I hate to break it to you but there is actually no blood in muscles. Thanks David! 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. Required fields are marked *, Copyright Food Answers. Thanks Jenny! Hopefully this information will help a family that because of budget restraints might enjoy a great beef meal they otherwise would pass up! Awesome post. Both myoglobin and oxymyoglobin have the ability to lose their oxidation which results in a brown color called metmyoglobin. The fact that the meat in your refrigerator has turned brown simply means that the remaining blood in it has drained out. So although the brown meat may not be as pretty, it’s not harmful—yet. Freezer burn or protein denaturation -- which don't pose health risks, but may make the meat unpalatable -- could also be the cause. I feel it is good have the information’s in black and white otherwise there is always around the smart ass the ask “how you know that” About the no BS attitude, you are right. I, too, hope this post sheds some light on that! ... good proteins and bad proteins, and all that, but unless we get our caloric intake under control a lot of those efforts are going to be for naught." My family grew up eating the brown meat because it’s usually what wouldn’t sell! Another indicator of spoiled meat is tacky or sticky to the touch. 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. All the blood is removed from the animal when it is slaughtered. I have missed seeing you at the convention in Davis last month. Keep this sort of thing coming- it’s very helpful to this Mama! “The problem is that if you leave it brown for too long, all those oxidized pigments will cause the fat to oxidize, and that will cause some flavor issues.”. I hope a lot of folks read it. In order for meat to maintain that bright red color we are familiar with, oxygen must be available at a sufficient concentration. Welcome! Brown meat!? Colors indicating spoiled turkey meat include red, green and yellow. All rights reserved -. The most common answer people give me is blood. Excellent post. Which is Ok leaves more for me! Thank you for taking the time to explain in such detail. 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. More than once my urban friends are aghast at seeing me buying beef from the store. Although I don’t know this woman, I wish I would have been able to let this woman know her steaks were perfectly fine. It’s also amazing to me how many people lack knowledge when it comes to meat which is why I do what I do. The mold has started to grow and it is unsafe to be consumed. 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 sausage is a signal that the sausage is going bad. Angelo- I miss you and your no-BS attitude!! 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. Slimy meat (not juicy) is also a great indicator of spoilage. Brown meat!? Don't rely on color to determine the freshness of your meat. 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. A brown color on red meat, such as steak, isn’t necessarily a sign that the meat has gone bad. This is a great explanation of meat color! This is awesome! 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. This especially occurs if meat has been temperature abused. Thanks for the great comment Larry! Exercised muscles are always darker in color. 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. I think it is more then 2 years since a costumer came back telling me that steak was not too good. 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. It has to do with the curing. Use the three indicators given to diagnose if it’s spoiled or not. Possibly, but that’s not really the right measure to see if you’re hamburger meat is bad. All the blood is removed from the animal when it is slaughtered. And thank you in advance for the traffic! Afterall someones sniffer may be a little better than someone else’s! Many people believe that if their fresh beef has turned brown, that means it has spoiled. I’m not quite sure how the curing/smoking process goes. Not to mention, I love that the first thing to pop up on the SE is from Chico. By now, you've probably heard that eating meat is bad for you. So we’ve established once meat turns brown, it’s hard for it to turn back to that red color. Flavor issues are not a thing that anyone would like in their ground beef. Bad Meat Is Bad Meat. If you don’t yet see film on your steak, but it has a strange color, like more brown, yellow, or green than the bright, purplish red color it should have, you might also have spoiled beef. Mince meat is still safe to eat when it starts to turn brown. A tainted burger can appear, and in fact be, perfectly "fresh." Once meat has browned, it is hard to get it enough oxygen to reverse the process. 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. That is why most of the meat we see has a bright red color. 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. I love this I’ve got to give you a huge Thanks and thumbs up! As long as the beef you are storing is not malodorous, it is most likely okay to cook and consume it. Like anything else, if you aren’t sure, it is always okay to get a second opinion! I’m currently in Charlotte, NC….but lived in Chico during Elementary school, and then again College. Since we are dealing with an enzymatic reaction here, I don’t think any dye could possibly work as effectively as the reaction itself. I love it and totally plan to share it! She then went ahead to post the photo on Facebook with a comment about how upset she was her steaks were bad. Those spots sound like freezer burn, which will not make you sick, but will make the texture of the meat unpleasantly dry. 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. Thanks! Step 2 - Examine the Color of the Steak. So why does meat turn brown? Thanks Janice! 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. After the lobster has been cooked, the meat will last for three to … Using four of your five senses, you should look, smell, touch and taste venison to determine if it has gone bad. Metmyoglobin is the cause of the characteristic brown coloration of meat that occurs as it ages. The skin is pale and creamy. Well I hate to break it to you but there is actually no blood in muscles. Dark Meat: It's the New White. The oxidation process is a result of the bound iron molecule in myoglobin going from the ferrous to ferric form. If you just bought it, you may want to return it. Sarah, thanks so much for commenting! 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. 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. Huh!? So what makes meat red in the first place? This produces what is called metmyoglobin. If its surface has turned thoroughly brown or gray or grown mold, it has gone bad and should be discarded. Step 2: Smell 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! I sell only the best, it is mandatory the my dry rub, (Angelo’s Magic) is on. Thank you for the information. If it is not spoiled, feel free to indulge without worry! It is very useful to housewives like me. Also myoglobin levels vary by species which is why beef has more of a red color than pork or lamb. As a rancher yes we have our own beef but I also buy beef at two local grocery stores fairly regularly. A green or brownish color on the surface is a clear sign that the meat is bad. Hi – that was a great article! For more information on this topic, visit these sources: Meat Color from University of Saskatchewan, A while back I shared a video looking inside the walls of a beef slaughter…, Just when I thought LFTB (Lean Finely Textured Beef) was out of my life… Here…, With 4th of July not too long ago, these babies were flying off the shelf!…. But yes, sometimes there is a fine line. Brown meat is OKAY to eat.. An off odor will be prevalent to your senses and the most effective way to diagnose spoiled meat. Use these three factors in diagnosing spoiled meat: does it smell, is it sticky, AND does it have color change? 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, finally cave in. For your ground meat to remain edible you should not have done a few things before freezing. Is brown meat bad? Ground beef changes color when it is exposed to oxygen. Myoglobin is a protein that stores oxygen for aerobic metabolism in the muscle. In an effort to be more humane, some lobster chefs will quickly jab an object into the lobster's head before dropping it in the boiling water. Although meat may turn brown after just a few days, it is usually still good to eat. This is more than likely the case from the photo above. One thing with that though is you need to know what should smell like generally. So it’s extremely essential to place your ground beef inside a … This will help me know when that might be a bad purchase. The meat from older animals will be darker in color because the myoglobin level increases with as animals age. No worries: simply cut the discolored sections away and the rest of the meat should be fine. Usually the meat is beginning to dry out. Huh!? 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! 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. It will look gray. We try our best to educate our customers on the meat they buy! I hope that my contributions hopefully and at least educate one person out there, if not many! Smell has been my number one indicator of spoiled meat! Brown or gray hamburger can be very unappetizing, but the color change doesn't necessarily mean you can't eat the meat. For red meat and steak, it is 1-3 days if it is raw and 7-10 days if it is cooked and kept on the recommended temperature. Meat can also turn brown if any sort of contamination that would cause a chemical reaction comes in contact with it. Instead, read labels carefully and practice safe food handling procedures to ensure that your burgers … This is why lobsters are frequently boiled alive. So if color isn’t an indicator of spoiled meat, what is…? The meat has no off smells, texture changes, or discoloration. And it makes me sad that nobody on those 20 comments told her that either. 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. That is why grocery stores utilize a small film over their products versus a vacuum package. Moregarlic @aol.com http://www.angelossmokehouse.com Have a good day. Meat that changes color is one of the things that food poisoning experts never eat. 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. 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. 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). Back story… this woman bought these steaks, opened them up, turned them over, and found this…. 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. You will just have to make sure that you inspect it carefully to see if the inside is still pink. Color in meat can change depending on the age of the animal, the species, sex, diet, and even the exercise it gets. awesome advice, very friendly and instructive. Brown meat is OKAY to eat.. As meat ages it turns brown from oxidation. If the face cut of the N.Y.. strip is dark, I reface it with cutting off a thin slice for myself. This doesn’t mean it is unsafe but the taste might not be as good. 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. Thanks for the info Jenny! It amazing to me the. Thanks for sharing! Cooking with venison is a great way to use up fresh deer meat that you've purchased or hunted for yourself. This discoloration can result from oxygen exposure to the meat. This is also the reason why your ground beef from the store may be red on the outside but brown on the inside. 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