1

votes

Am I about to poison my family?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 04, 2012 at 10:48 PM

I pulled stew meat out of my fridge tonight that was not at all past it's sell-by date. When I opened it, it had a strong smell and I freaked out because I had nothing else on hand. As I waited around, deciding what to do, the smell seemed to go away. I read that if you do a salt rinse and the smell goes away, the meat is most likely safe. I decided to cook it (in soup, long cook time) but the more I read, the more I wonder if I am about to poison my family. Should I throw out all of those ingredients? Ugh...

A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 07, 2012
at 02:26 AM

Personally I wouldn't but I know that cooking can kill a lot of contaminants. Also having been around food so many times it is very easy for me to know that something is off. But like stated by LikesLardinMayo smelling bad doesn't mean make you sick bad, so you can't always trust your nose and touch. I usually toss just to be on the safe side. It is hard to tell for a lot of people. But when teh food really starts to rot, you know it, and no amount of cooking would make me want to eat it.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on April 05, 2012
at 06:22 PM

Ender, is it an ok idea to cook the questionable meat and then smell/taste? I know a few times I've had meat that seemed questionable (raw), but the smells that resulted while cooking made it clear to me if the meat was good or bad. Just putting a little in your mouth, a few chews, and spitting out made it very clear that it shouldn't be eaten!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2012
at 02:39 AM

Good example of "rot" being less of an issue than pathogens. In Norway they make a dish of decomposed Shark (or was it whale?) it tastes really strongly of ammonia and is actually pretty gross. It is, however, safe. So...

A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 05, 2012
at 02:26 AM

This is very very true. Thus the difference in spoilage types. The only thing is regular spoilage can be a hint that it has been around long enough for the bad stuff to multiply to the point that it can make you ill.

A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 05, 2012
at 02:23 AM

very true, but a good sign is if the smell dissipates rather quickly it was most likely just the nasty gases trapped in for too long. The smell of rot doesn't fade away. Sadly for people like me on unemployment since surgery I can't afford "good' meat. Or so I thought. If there is a butcher anywhere near where you live they always have specials, usually even huge butcher packs for freezing if you must buy in quantity. Also farmers markets are your friend for veg. The cheap stuff is the stuff that is the freshest. Asparagus 4 bucks a bunch don't buy them! That means they aren't in season.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 05, 2012
at 02:06 AM

Source matters! Run-of-the-mill grocery store meat is going to be comtaminated with all sorts of nasties. It's going to have questionable handling (proper temperature all the time? who knows!). If it's gotten to the point of producing offensive odors, it's probably a safe bet that the nasties are growing and producing things you're not wanting to eat.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on April 05, 2012
at 02:02 AM

Yuuuuup, what the meat man said. If it smelt like decomposition, you would have known, yes indeed, you would have.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 05, 2012
at 12:29 AM

Depends on the smell. Rot and barnyard smells mean decomposition and poor sanitation. I'd probably avoid sweet and sour smells as well (i.e. fermentation).

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 05, 2012
at 12:10 AM

+1. Ignoring food safety is totally non-paleo.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 04, 2012
at 11:10 PM

I've had acute food poisoning several times in my life and I outright fear it. So, the question is was this meat "aged" or "off?" People used to routinely age meat much more than we do today, but I think there is more contaminated meat too. Unless you have someone you trust with the expertise to give you in-person advice, I personally would not eat that meat. Before you cooked it, you might have asked a butcher or someone to check it--now that it's in soup, the question is are any possible toxings neutralized? I just don't know.

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7 Answers

11
A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 04, 2012
at 11:28 PM

As a former chef and such an adamant meat eater that I actually have the primal cuts of beef and pig tattooed on my calves I feel I can answer this. If this was just normal store bought meat in a package then the smell can be pretty expected. They do odd things sometimes like color the meat chemically, add water to the meat to increase weight and so on. So the longer it sits tightly wrapped the longer the smells fester. If you left them sit a bit and the smell was gone, you are fine. Also since they were not to their sell by date (which is usually way too early for it to go bad) they should be fine. Also spoilage itself doesn't mean you would get sick. Pathogens are what technically make you sick and not the deterioration (spoilage) of the meat. However even spoilage that won't make you sick should probably be avoided as it can indicate a deeper problem. If the smell is so bad you can't handle it, through it out. If the smell hits you as you open the package but lessons, don't worry it's just trapped gasses. If the meat is overly slimy or sticky, toss it. I am guessing though since you are stewing it that even if it had a bit too much bacteria it would die. What you have described sounds fine to me.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2012
at 02:39 AM

Good example of "rot" being less of an issue than pathogens. In Norway they make a dish of decomposed Shark (or was it whale?) it tastes really strongly of ammonia and is actually pretty gross. It is, however, safe. So...

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on April 05, 2012
at 02:02 AM

Yuuuuup, what the meat man said. If it smelt like decomposition, you would have known, yes indeed, you would have.

A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 05, 2012
at 02:23 AM

very true, but a good sign is if the smell dissipates rather quickly it was most likely just the nasty gases trapped in for too long. The smell of rot doesn't fade away. Sadly for people like me on unemployment since surgery I can't afford "good' meat. Or so I thought. If there is a butcher anywhere near where you live they always have specials, usually even huge butcher packs for freezing if you must buy in quantity. Also farmers markets are your friend for veg. The cheap stuff is the stuff that is the freshest. Asparagus 4 bucks a bunch don't buy them! That means they aren't in season.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 05, 2012
at 02:06 AM

Source matters! Run-of-the-mill grocery store meat is going to be comtaminated with all sorts of nasties. It's going to have questionable handling (proper temperature all the time? who knows!). If it's gotten to the point of producing offensive odors, it's probably a safe bet that the nasties are growing and producing things you're not wanting to eat.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on April 05, 2012
at 06:22 PM

Ender, is it an ok idea to cook the questionable meat and then smell/taste? I know a few times I've had meat that seemed questionable (raw), but the smells that resulted while cooking made it clear to me if the meat was good or bad. Just putting a little in your mouth, a few chews, and spitting out made it very clear that it shouldn't be eaten!

A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 07, 2012
at 02:26 AM

Personally I wouldn't but I know that cooking can kill a lot of contaminants. Also having been around food so many times it is very easy for me to know that something is off. But like stated by LikesLardinMayo smelling bad doesn't mean make you sick bad, so you can't always trust your nose and touch. I usually toss just to be on the safe side. It is hard to tell for a lot of people. But when teh food really starts to rot, you know it, and no amount of cooking would make me want to eat it.

3
1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

on April 05, 2012
at 02:05 AM

You do realize that foods contaminated with E-COLI or other 'food poisoning' pathogens do NOT smell bad right?

Meat can go 'bad' without any of those pathogens being present, like when you leave a hunk of cooked beef in the fridge way to long and it gets some green mold on it. PERFECTLY SAFE TO EAT, you will not get food poisoning from that.

Get some E-Coli onto some lettuce and let it sit out at room temp for about 8 hours, and it won't smell at all. But you will be sick like you wouldn't believe.

A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 05, 2012
at 02:26 AM

This is very very true. Thus the difference in spoilage types. The only thing is regular spoilage can be a hint that it has been around long enough for the bad stuff to multiply to the point that it can make you ill.

3
34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on April 04, 2012
at 11:52 PM

When in doubt, throw it out =/ I know it sucks to throw out meat but it's better than making yourself and/or your family sick.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 05, 2012
at 12:10 AM

+1. Ignoring food safety is totally non-paleo.

2
2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

on April 04, 2012
at 11:14 PM

My stewing meat usually has a very pungent smell. No need to worry. We never get sick. As long as the smell isn't revolting, just strong.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 05, 2012
at 12:29 AM

Depends on the smell. Rot and barnyard smells mean decomposition and poor sanitation. I'd probably avoid sweet and sour smells as well (i.e. fermentation).

1
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on April 05, 2012
at 12:55 AM

I'll echo sentiments here, as well offer this.

If the meat smells "musty", in my experience the meat is older which isn't a bad thing (in fact, many pay top dollar at high end steakhouses for such service). My prep for pot-roast is to coat with kosher salt and let it sit for a week in the fridge. When it comes out, as Alton Brown has said, "it will smell a little funky". But the taste...

If the meat has a pungent, sharp, foul smell... stay well away.

1
98498ace1671d074dba1de2925cf9dbd

on April 05, 2012
at 12:14 AM

My experience with meat, poultry, etc., is that if it smells I rinse it off with water. If it still smells after that, then I toss it. If it smells fine, then I cut into it and smell it again. If the inside smells bad, then I toss it. If not, then I cook it and make sure that it is cooked appropriately (e.g. a little on the dry side for chicken, just to make sure!)

0
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on April 05, 2012
at 01:31 PM

This is an issue I've encountered with irradiated ground lamb (yup, didn't get it at the Farmer's Market, but the grocery store). When I opened the package, I smelled sulfur very strongly. It didn't otherwise seem "bad", did some research, and low and behold that happens to irradiated meat sometimes.

I ate it, and everything was fine. I avoid irradiated foods, but didn't want to waste the meat I already had.

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