My Ground Beef Smells Like Eggs | Can I Still Eat It?

August 5, 2022

Ground beef is a common ingredient I use in many dishes like stews, pasta, tacos, hamburgers, sausages, and more. It's easy to prepare, versatile, and packaged ground beef from the supermarket is usually affordable.

However, ground meat is oxidized by heat during grounding. Also, each cut has larger surfaces cut to the open and attackable by bacteria.

This is why ground meat has a lower shelf life compared to unground or sliced beef. 

When your ground beef smells like eggs, then it's probably time to discard it and abort that dish. Except, of course, if you can get a new pack. 

Thanks to my culinary experience working with ground beef, I'll help you find out is wrong with your beef. 

Why Does Ground Beef Smell Like Eggs?

When your packed ground beef smells like egg, this is a sign of deterioration. When a bacterial load attacks meat, the structure of the meat slowly decomposes. This produces a rotten egg smell. 

Also, aside from that eggy smell, bad ground beef can smell like someone just farted after a full day of gobbling on beans and lentils. 

In this case, the persistent weird smell of rotten eggs is due to the presence of acids as a by-product of bacteria. 

Ground Meat Food

How Long Can I Keep Ground Beef?

I always advise that you cook ground beef as soon as it is processed. But if you have to refrigerate it, make sure you consume it within the next 24 to 48 hours. Ground beef starts to rot after the third day. 

As I explained earlier, this is because meat undergoes high oxygenation due to heat generated during the grinding process.

This causes a faster oxidation process. So, its shelf life in the fridge will always be shorter than a steak.

Meanwhile, if you've minced or ground a lot of beef meat and want to keep them for more than the refrigeration period, I'll advise you to freeze them.

By freezing ground beef, you can extend the shelf life of the meat by a couple of months. Ensure that you consume them within four months

Is It Ok to Eat Beef That Smells a Little?

When your ground beef smells even just a little, this means that the beef has gone bad. It should not be consumed. Even my poodles will not eat them!

The fart smell or eggy smell indicates bacteria cells like E-coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and salmonellosis have started working on the meat cells or fibers.

You don't want to admit these bad guys in your system! 

First, if you insist you're going to eat them, of course, cooking the meat will kill some of these bacteria.

Asides, the beef will change how your dish tastes. So, it'll be affecting the rest of the ingredients. 

Secondly, even when you cook spoiled beef, it won't still make it safe for eating. You might be playing with food poisoning if you go ahead and consume them. 

When food is said to be contaminated with bacteria, it means DON’T eat them.

Foodborne illnesses caused by E-coli and salmonellosis are responsible for millions of cases of food poisoning each year. Most of these are the result of eating spoiled meat. 

Other Ways to Identify Spoiled Meat

Nobody wants spoiled meat on their plate. Asides from the rotten egg smell, these are other ways to recognize inedible ground beef!

1. The Expiration Date 

Before buying any ground meat pack, always check the expiration date specified on the packaging. 

Likewise, avoid buying it if the container does not have an expiration date, batch, or packaging date.

On the contrary, the best thing you can do is to choose completely fresh beef and mince it yourself. 

2. Has the Color Changed?

The color of the meat is another way I can identify whether it is in poor condition or not.

Ground meat normally has a bright red color. If the fresh ground beef has been vacuum packed and is maintained from oxygen, its color should be a sort of purplish red. 

If some parts of the beef are green or brown, it may signify that the meat is bad. 

On the other hand, when minced meat turns somewhat brown, it doesn't mean it is in poor condition. It may be from older animals. 

In addition, on many occasions, the store's lighting can cause a variation in the color of the meat, giving it a reddish-brown color. 

If the store's lighting won't let you identify its actual color, find a color-neutral space to check it out. 

3. Does It Have a Weird Smell?

Smelling meat is perhaps the easiest way to tell if it's good or bad. So, whatever the type of meat, if it smells weird (that is, tangy, putrid, or rancid), then it's not edible. 

Ground beef smells like mild iron. If otherwise, you better get rid of it now!

4. Is It Slimy?

Take the time you need to inspect the meat in detail. Rotten meat can also have a slimy texture. This indicates that bacteria have already begun to multiply on its surface. 

Spoiled meat may also be somewhat sticky and have greenish or blackened areas. This is a sign that fungus has already started to proliferate.

Minced Beef On A Ceramic Plate

FAQs 

1. Why Does Ground Beef Smell Like Fart or Rotten Eggs?

Your ground beef smells that way because it has gone bad. The fart or eggy smell is the odor caused by the bacterial population on the raw meat. 

2. What Does Bad Ground Beef Smell Like?

Bad ground beef can smell like rotten eggs or give another foul odor. The smell is sometimes putrid or rancid. This is caused by bacteria deteriorating the meat cells and may be due to improper storage. 

3. Why Does Packaged Meat Smell Like Sulfur?

Beef contains a chemical that smells like sulfur. You may notice that smell when you open the vacuum-sealed package after storage.

However, if the meat has been stored properly, the sulfur smell may not be due to spoilage. If it's not slimy and the color of the meat has not changed, it may still be safe to cook and consume. 

Conclusion

Meat spoils when bacteria attack it. This process produces acids with the characteristic smell of broken and rotten eggs. If the ground beef is not only dark but also smelly, it is definitely spoiled.

It is essential to preserve meat correctly. The chances of getting sick due to food poisoning increase exponentially when you consume beef that is not fresh or has not been stored properly. 

Unfortunately, you can't redeem bad meat, not even with oil frying. Just throw them away for food safety.

We hope this convinces you to preserve ground beef properly and not to let it pass the expiration date. 

If you grind the beef at home, consume it immediately or freeze it without breaking the cold chain until it's ready for use. If the meat spoilage isn't your fault, then maybe it's time to go to a different store. 

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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