If Meat Turns Brown in the Fridge Is It Bad?

If Meat Turns Brown in the Fridge Is It Bad?

If Meat Turns Brown in the Fridge Is It Bad?

Darkening occurs due to the process of oxidation, which causes chemical changes that occur in myoglobin due to the content of oxygen. This is an expected alteration when you store your food in the refrigerator. Beef that is brown over time may become spoiled, exhibit an off-odor, and could be rough to the touch. Therefore, it is not recommended for use.

What Causes Meat To Turn Brown, And What Is The Significance Of This?What Causes Meat To Turn Brown, And What Is The Significance Of This?

We’ll take as an example raw beef. If it starts to turn brown, then the most likely reason is the fact that it’s experienced oxygen exposure. However, there are different reasons why raw meat can become brown, including temperature, exposure to light, or the growth of microbial organisms. The meat might turn brownish grey inside, but it is not because of spoilage. Instead, the color indicates the absence of oxygen exposure, which is common.

Stores selling groceries will usually discount meat, for example, ground beef which has turned brown although it’s still within its shelf-life. If the meat is grey or brown on the outside, it’s unlikely to be hazardous, but it’s getting rotten. Food handlers shouldn’t eat food items that are close to expiring. The chances are that before it gets to the consumer, the food will be bad at last.

Can Raw Beef Be Considered Safe If It Begins To Brown?

Many believe that a bright red hue signifies a freshly cut piece of meat. But, unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

If a cow is killed, the meat will be clear. When the carcass is swiftly vacuum-packed, it will maintain the maroon hue. However, if it is air-conditioned for only one hour, air will change the surface of the meat to bright cherry red. The cherry red will then fade to brown once biochemical activity decreases.

“It can start discoloring within a few hours,” Liz Boyle, a meat scientist at Kansas State University, told me. “This is the reason why in supermarkets, they usually grind meat at least once a day. They want customers to be able to see that vibrant red hue.”

As per the USDA guidelines, the raw cuts of beef last for between three and seven days in a 40 degrees F or lower refrigerator. Ground beef must be consumed within two or three days after purchase. Meat still in its fresh window can turn orange-brown.

How Long Will Beef Be Good Once It Has Turned Brown?

The brown meat can be perfect, and it doesn’t mean it is spoilt; it could indicate that it is older.

Therefore, you should investigate using your senses. The smells and slippery and slimy textures suggest spoilage bacteria are taking the meat’s protein which could affect the taste even if you cook your meat Boyle said to me. (But the sticky texture you notice after you’ve seasoned your meat doesn’t cause concern. Salt causes tiny threads of muscle known as myofibrillar protein to search for water, making them stick onto your palms.)

Pathogenic bacteria, which is the kind that makes us sick, typically don’t cause any noticeable odors or texture changes to your meat. Cooking meat to temperatures of 160 degrees typically eliminates the bacteria (salmonella and certain strains of E. bacteria are the main issues with undercooked beef). Make use of a thermometer for food to test the temperature. Go to the Partnership for Food Safety Education for more precise temperature guidelines.

In the absence of oxygen exposure, packaged vacuum beef will never change to bright red. But, in time, it will eventually become brown. “It could take weeks,” Janeal Yancey, a meat scientist at the University of Arkansas, emailed me. However, she added that various factors, such as the type and age of the meat, the packaging it’s in, and the temperature at which it’s being exposed, can influence the speed at which it browns.

If the meat has been vacuum-packed spoils, the packaging puffs up with the gases released by bacteria. This is your signal that it is time to get rid of it.

How Can You Ensure That The Meat Is Its Safety Before It Is Delivered?

When you check deliveries, always:

  • Verify that the meat has been served at 4 degrees Celsius or less.
  • Check that frozen meat products are not thawed and do not appear to be in the thawing process.
  • Ensure the meat is securely wrapped and the package has no holes or tears.
  • Be aware of an excessive amount of liquid in the packaging. This could indicate that the temperature regulations are not strictly adhered to. Make use of a clean, accurate thermometer to test.
  • Make sure you check the dates on the packaging, and best to do this before the date.
  • Try smelling the meat. SpoiltSpoil red meat will be scented with a distinct and strong odor.
  • Check that the meat isn’t slimy or sticky. This is an indication of bacteria growth.

How Do You Safely Store Your Meat?How Do You Safely Store Your Meat?

  • Refrigerate meat at 4degC/40degF, below, and in the freezer at -18degC/0degF or lower.
  • The meat products should be stored before more nutritious foods, as meat can only be stored in a room at a temperature of 2 hours before being removed.
  • Remove raw meat from cooked food items in the fridge and keep it on the lower shelf of undercooked foods or fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Make sure that coolers are outfitted with thermometers. Also, ensure that your employees are monitoring the temperature frequently.
  • When you make your minced meat at home, refrigerate it and use it within 24 hours or put it in the freezer.
  • Utilize following the “First In, First Out” (FIFO) method: The food purchased must be used first.

Why Steak Turns Brown In The Fridge?Why Steak Turns Brown In The Fridge?

The color of steak can change when stored in the refrigerator due to the process of oxidation that occurs after exposure to the air. Oxygen in the air reacts to the iron in the steak, making it brown.

This is a normal aspect of aging meat and happens when the meat starts to degrade as time passes.

Oxidation may also occur if the steak isn’t properly stored, as the case of an open container or the plastic wrap must be sealed enough to stop air from getting to the meat.

Another factor that contributes to turning brown when stored in the refrigerator can be the existence of bacteria. This can cause the steak to spoil and become brown.

Signs That Your Steak Might Have Gone Bad?Signs That Your Steak Might Have Gone Bad?

  • Off smell: If the steak is sour or has an unpleasant or rancid scent It is most likely it is rotten and should not be eaten.
  • A slimy texture: If the meat is slimy or slippery, it could indicate spoilage and should not be eaten.
  • The appearance of discoloration: If the cut is discolored or has increased in darkness compared to the day it was bought, it could indicate that it is in bad shape and must be discarded.
  • The growth of mold: If you see signs of mold growth around the cut, it’s unsafe to eat and should be thrown away immediately.
  • A taste that is off: When the meat has an unpleasant or metallic taste, It could indicate that the steak has been spoilt and must be avoided.

If you observe that your meat is turning brown, burning, oxidizing, or browning within the fridge, there could be an issue with the carcass. Based on the kind of meat could be an indication that the meat has been damaged or otherwise unhealthy. Certain kinds of meat, like pork, are especially susceptible to oxidation. Therefore, if your food becomes brown in the refrigerator, it’s best to slice it and throw it away. It is generally safe to consume meat that has gone brown when stored in the refrigerator so long as it’s been properly stored and handled. The color of meat may change over time because of the inevitable breakdown of enzymes and proteins. This process may make the animal brown. This is particularly frequent in ground meats, like ground beef and ground turkey.

However, it is essential to ensure that the meat has been handled and stored correctly to avoid the development of harmful microbes. Raw meat should be kept in the refrigerator at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and consumed within a few days of purchase. If the meat exhibits an unusual scent or looks slimy, it’s recommended to throw it away to avoid the possibility of food poisoning.

If you are unsure about the security of the meat that has gone brown in the fridge, It is recommended to take caution and dispose of it.


If the meat is kept in the refrigerator for too long, it will lose its vibrant red color and turn brown. The reason for this is an oxidation process. It occurs when oxygen interacts with myoglobin, a protein. Myoglobin is a protein that can be that is found in raw beef.

Oxygen is vital in ensuring that meat has a vibrant red hue. The meat will become grey or brown if oxygen is not present.

The color of meat can also change when it has been exposed to air or light for a prolonged time. This is because free radicals wander through the meat and take electrons out of myoglobin. In this event, the myoglobin molecules lose the ability to become red.

If meat is exposed to the oxidation process, it transforms from its vivid red to grayish brown. The smell is unpleasant. Fortunately, this isn’t an indication of spoilage. However, it does mean that the meat isn’t the same fresh as in the past.

Another reason for the oxidation process is the growth of bacteria. For example, bacteria in the meat could alter the taste of the meat and turn it bitter. In addition, certain kinds of juices for fruit can trigger an oxidation process.

Cellular functions within the meat are more efficient than oxygen production can keep up. During the process, fats and molecules disintegrate, releasing free radicals. Free radicals bind to the iron atoms in myoglobin’s molecule and grab an electron.

A few hours in the freezer or fridge will cause the meat to turn brown. However, it can require a few months in the freezer before turning the meat dark.

To avoid this occurring, wrap the meat in Saran wrap. If you store it in the freezer, let it thaw before eating. Vacuum packaging also helps to avoid oxidation.

Meat can also be harmful if it has been treated with salt. Salt is an antioxidant that could accelerate the process of oxidation. Additionally, marinating steaks in salt can cause an oxidation process.

If you are storing it in the refrigerator, do not add salt. Instead, use Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce to act as an antioxidant.

If you detect a foul smell, throw away the meat immediately. In other cases, it’s an old piece of meat that is not dangerous.

Rotten OdorRotten Odor

There are various methods to detect whether your meat is in a state of decay. One of the simplest and most reliable methods is to determine the color. Rotten meat is distinctive color, typically red, purple, or brown. The color results from the oxidation process that occurs in the tissues of the meat and is not necessarily dangerous. The meat could also exhibit an unpleasant or bitter taste. If this is the case, you must eliminate the meat promptly.

Another method to determine whether your food is spoilt is to examine for obvious signs of spoilage, for example, an encrusted surface or film. These indicators are not typically an indication of the beginning of spoilage. However, they could indicate that there is a problem. Remember that meat can be a source of infection in frozen foods.

A best practice is to discard all meat that doesn’t meet your requirements. You may also utilize an accurate thermometer to check for the right temperature. It is important to note that keeping a steak in the refrigerator for longer than two days will cause the formation of lactic acid. It is a consequence of aging.

If you’re considering purchasing new meat, you should ask the salesperson to confirm that the packaging has been sealed properly. Placing your meat in a plastic bag that allows ventilation could aid in slowing the oxidation process down, making the product last longer.

The most important to remember is not to eat spoiled food items. This can cause unpleasant effects. Ensure your meat is cooked at an optimum temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Then take it out of the packaging if the meat is not cooked. Additionally, ensure that the meat is covered in Saran wrap.

In closing, If your meat purchase was a bargain at the market, it might be time to rethink it. Even though you’re keen to try a new recipe, you’ll probably regret it if the meat is an underwhelming success.

Freezer BurnFreezer Burn

The color of meat could change during storage. If it turns brown, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s been spoiled. It’s usually the result of the process of oxidation. But knowing what you should observe when you see this is essential.

Oxidation happens when oxygen interacts with the raw myoglobin pigment in meat. The oxidation process causes the pigment to change color, losing its bright red hue and brown.

In many processed slices of meat, carbon monoxide is a component to make the meat redder. It’s around 200 times stronger than oxygen and bonds with hemoglobin similarly. These chemicals are still employed in cooking, but the flavor of the meat will decrease.

If the meat has begun to turn brown, eliminate it immediately. It could cause harm to you. It is not a good idea to be at risk of getting a food-borne illness if consumed it.

If you take your meat from your freezer, it can change color. Although this doesn’t indicate the meat has been spoiled, it may have been damaged. Make sure you cut the meat into pieces before cooking it.

Freezer burn may also result in roughness in your meat. If your meat is dry and has a rough appearance, it could indicate that it’s been exposed to elements for a long time.

There are a variety of food products that can be transformed into oxidized. If you’re unsure how this could affect your food, use a thermometer to measure whether your food is at the right temperature.

Bacteria could also be the reason for your steak’s grayish or brown hue. They can develop on the outside of the steak, which causes it to be tasteless and have a slimy appearance.

When keeping your meat in the freezer, be sure it’s wrapped tightly. If you see a tear in the wax or plastic is an indication that the package doesn’t protect the meat.

You are still able to consume the spoiled beef. However, you must be aware of the way you manage it. Maintain your freezer at a cool temperature to stop bacteria from becoming established.

Why Is There A Browning Of The Beef Underneath The Stickers And On The Edges Of The Tray?

Once oxygen has started the biochemical process in the environment, an area that has oxygen, however not a great deal of oxygen, could trigger browning at the speed of light, Yancey said. This is because this oxygen causes an array of activities, which need more oxygen and then drain the scarce amount. Soon, myoglobin’s ferrous molecules lose the chance of finding oxygen, and every molecule’s fragile, exposed electron is taken by functions that are not in the meat or wandering free radicals. Without that precious electron, myoglobin’s shape alters, reflecting light differently and appearing brown.

This is why it’s more likely to notice the brown spots beneath the stickers. As oxygen travels throughout the polymer used in sealing the meat trays, once certain areas are covered by stickers, oxygen flow is shut off.

The parts from the animal touching the tray are also oxygen deficient and more likely to become brown. Also, when you put multiple trays of meat in your fridge, those parts that touch each other will be devoid of oxygen supply and more likely to brown.

If you notice the brown spot under the sticker, and the meat has been stored properly, is free of off-odors or texture, and is in its freshness window, it will likely be fine. The butcher was not trying to hide the brown by using the sticker!

Why Is It That Beef Can Change Color Just Beneath The Surface?

Therefore, we can see that the oxygen-rich air on the surface of meat makes it bright red. In contrast, the oxygen-free atmosphere inside the meat stays clear in a suspended state. In the absence of oxygen, the cellular functions of the meat are advancing extremely slowly.

The problem is that things become a little sloppy when the oxygen-rich red outside portion of the meat meets the clean, oxygen-free interior space. Here, the rapid-paced processes are stimulated by the tiny amount of oxygen absorbed through the skin. Finally, however, the oxygen well is drained, and the meat turns brown.


Why does meat turn brown in the fridge?

Meat turns brown in the fridge due to a process called oxidation, which occurs when oxygen reacts with the pigments in the meat. This reaction causes the meat to change color from its original bright red color to a brownish-gray color.

Is brown meat in the fridge bad?

Not necessarily. While brown meat in the fridge can be a sign that the meat is starting to go bad, it is not always an indication of spoilage. Meat can turn brown due to oxidation even if it is still fresh and safe to eat.

How can you tell if brown meat in the fridge is bad?

There are several signs that brown meat in the fridge may be bad. These include a foul odor, a slimy or sticky texture, and visible signs of mold or discoloration. If the meat has been in the fridge for more than a few days and shows any of these signs, it should be discarded.

Can you still cook and eat brown meat in the fridge?

It depends on how long the meat has been brown and how it smells and feels. If the meat has only been brown for a short time and still smells and feels fresh, it is safe to cook and eat. However, if the meat has been brown for several days and has a foul odor or slimy texture, it should not be consumed.

How can you prevent meat from turning brown in the fridge?

One way to prevent meat from turning brown in the fridge is to store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to minimize exposure to oxygen. Meat should also be stored in the coldest part of the fridge, which is usually the back or bottom.

How long can you store meat in the fridge before it goes bad?

The length of time that meat can be stored in the fridge before it goes bad depends on the type of meat and how it is stored. In general, raw meat should be consumed within 1-2 days of purchase or within 3-5 days if it has been cooked. However, some types of meat, such as cured meats or vacuum-sealed meat, can be stored for longer periods of time. It is important to always check the expiration date and follow safe storage and handling practices to prevent foodborne illness.