How to Tell if Beef Is Fresh

Updated April 17, 2017

Beef is a succulent and wholesome meat that you can prepare in a variety of ways. However, when purchasing beef you must ensure that the meat you choose is fresh and safe for consumption. Stale meat is a breeding ground for bacterial growth and food-borne illnesses. Keep your family safe and healthy by identifying and choosing fresh beef. Use the texture, colour and odour of beef to help you determine whether the meat is fresh and safe for consumption.

Check the "use-by" date printed on the beef package. This date is an indicator of the freshness of the beef. Purchase and use the beef before the "use-by" date expires. The quality of the beef greatly diminishes after the "use-by" date.

Observe the texture of the beef, which should be moist. If the beef has a slimy texture or feels sticky to the touch, it is spoiled.

Examine the colour of the beef. Fresh beef portions are red in colour with creamy white fat sections. An off-colour brown or grey signals that the beef has spoiled due to improper storage or has undergone prolonged refrigeration.

Smell the beef. If it has a stale, cardboardlike odour that persists, the meat is spoiled and not suitable for consumption.


Store fresh beef in the refrigerator at 4.44 degrees Celsius or freeze it in its original packaging. This prevents the quality of the beef from deteriorating due to oxidative stress.

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