Minced meat spoils quickly. Unlike, for example steaks, with grinding much bigger meat surface is exposed to oxygen and oxygen is a major source of support for the bacteria that cause food poisoning.
The structure of minced meat practically is formed of countless small air pockets throughout the meat, and each of these pockets is fertile ground for the growth of bacteria.
The inside of the steak is practically sterile, because oxygen cannot penetrate it and we know that there is no place for the bacteria there. However, its surface is a different story: the bacteria may appear and develop on the surface of the steak, but when it is cooked or baked, it is the surface that which is in contact with a frying pan or other container. The heat is the best way to get rid of bacteria. Most of them disappear at 80 degrees Celsius, and the meat is baked and cooked at a higher temperature than this.
Bacteria: infections and spoilage
Food poisoning and food spoilage are two different things. Most of food spoilages are caused by bacteria and the spoiling process itself emits and creates its own bacteria, but not all of them are salmonella or E. coli (sometimes called “hamburger disease”), which cause food poisoning.
The characteristic of these bacteria infecting the food is that the infected food hardly shows any signs that it is contaminated. No changes occur in the texture, color or smell. Deadly burgers may seem completely fresh and safe.
On the other hand, food spoilage is a broad term that covers a variety of signs that your senses of smell, sight and touch register immediately and give your brain information that is better for you not to eat it. The bacteria that cause food spoilage will not actually harm you. Most of us will not eat food that smells different or feels slimy to the touch, but if we do, probably the worst thing that can happen is that this food has a bad odor and taste and can cause a stomach ache or make us vomit afterwards.
In other words, deterioration happens because of the lack of freshness, while the contamination or infestation of food can happen even if the food is fresh.
If your ground beef is infected with pathogenic bacteria, and then we let it stand in the refrigerator until it begins to show signs of spoilage, pathogens from the air and from the meat itself will multiply along with the bacteria that are responsible for spoilage.
Signs of deteriorated / overstored ground meat
In the case of deteriorated minced meat, the first signs you will notice, if any, depend on how much it is deteriorated. If it is slimy, it means that it has just begun to spoil. The slime on the surface is caused by the construction of the bacterial cells – it is the body of bacteria.
If meat smells funny, it’s definitely deteriorated. This odor is caused by gases produced by bacteria.
However, despite the slime and stink, the protein in the meat remains unchanged and totally nutritious.
And finally, the last stage in the deterioration of meat is the change of color. The famous red color of the meat comes from the iron which is the same ingredient that gives the color of blood, will become gray as the bacteria break down the iron in the meat. In short, if the ground meat is grayish, slimy and smelly – it’s not suitable for eating because it is definitely spoiled.
There is a theory that the odor-producing bacteria have adapted this technique as a way of discouraging other organisms (i.e. People) to compete with them for food supplies. In other words, if you feel a strange smell of food, we will continue on, leaving the food to the bacteria.
Keeping minced meat fresh
When you buy minced meat, cook it the same day or you can store it in the refrigerator for another day or if you are sure you will not cook the meat within a day it is better to freeze it for further use.
Usually you will see a stamped date on the packaging by which the meat must be sold and even if it is for two or three days from now, do not pay attention to it. Cook or freeze meat on the same day. You should always keep in mind that freezing does not kill bacteria that cause any deterioration, whether related to food spoiling or food poisoning, but only slows down their reproductive cycle.
If you want to freeze the meat, you can instantly spice and form patties that will later cook. If you know you want them to say the next day, you can transfer them from the freezer to the refrigerator.
If you are more impulsive and you want to prepare the meat immediately, remove the meat from the refrigerator and place it in the sink so that it is constantly washed by running cold water. This will safely dissolve your burgers, but only when it comes to cold water. Do not use hot and warm, as it can lead to the development of bacteria that cause food poisoning.
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