Ground Beef Turned Brown? This is Why!

Feeling disappointed seeing your ground beef turned brown when taking it out from the fridge?

Do you hesitate to use it for making comforting soup or tacos because it might be unsafe to eat?

No worries, you’re not alone; we understand how you feel. Beef turning brown even when stored inside the refrigerator doesn’t mean it’s rotten.

Changes in the beef’s color don’t convey that the meat has gone bad. If that’s the case, why is ground beef turning brown?

The ground beef turns brown once it’s exposed to oxygen. This is the same condition that happens to eggplants, avocadoes, and apples when exposed to fresh air.

Find out more about this topic by browsing the article below.

Why Does Ground Beef Turn Brown?

Ground Beef

Have you noticed that ground beef usually turns brown once you store it in the fridge?

It’s essential to know that ground meat contains proteins called myoglobin.

When you keep the meat inside the fridge, it’s not exposed to oxygen anymore, altering its color and becoming brownish.

The brownish-red color of the ground meat takes place due to metmyoglobin. This color emerges when the myoglobin interacts with the store lighting in the fridge.

Regardless, don’t throw the brown meat away if it doesn’t show other indications it is rotten.

Similarly, avoid storing the ground meat inside the refrigerator for an extended period.

Doing so won’t only make it even more brownish, but it will also affect its flavor. Storing the ground beef in the fridge will only cause the fat to oxidize more, resulting in flavorless meat.

At best, store the meat for at least two to three days to preserve its flavor and keep it from contamination.

Is It Safe to Consume Ground Beef That Has Turned Brown?


Fortunately, eating ground beef that has turned brown is okay so long as you carefully check the other spoilage signs when handling meat.

Change in the meat’s color alone is not the sole indication that it’s rotten.

It’s advisable to store the ground beef in the fridge to preserve its quality, freshness, and flavor and, more importantly, inhibit food contamination.

Remember, prolonging the meat’s storage will most likely spoil it.

And, if you see some signs, such as slimy texture, strange odor, and severe discoloration, it’s high time to toss the ground beef away.

These signs determine that the meat is no longer safe to eat, and consuming it will only cause food poisoning, putting your health at risk.

Meanwhile, if you accidentally consume brown ground meat and feel specific symptoms, such as diarrhea, stomachache, headache, and vomiting, there’s a greater likelihood of consuming contaminated meat.

Therefore, to prevent these unfortunate incidents, purchase ground beef from reputable sellers, check its expiration date, and thoroughly inspect its quality.

In particular, ground beef is a staple food, and it’s perishable.

Hence, it is vital to be vigilant of the spoilage indications before consuming it.

Adhering to food safety is one great way of keeping you and your loved ones safe and protected from foodborne illnesses.

What’s the Correct Ground Beef Storage?

Freezing is the most excellent method to preserve the quality of ground beef and extend its shelf life.

While the ground beef will inevitably turn brown even if you freeze the meat, you’ll have no worries if you store it in a tightly sealed container.

You also need to ensure that the freezer is functioning at an adequate frigid temperature.

The freezer should be set to at least 32 degrees F, but much better if the temperature is set to 0 degrees F.

Your ground beef will remain safe for up to twelve months in the freezer.

Nonetheless, you can avert freezer burn issues if you freeze the meat for about three to four months and consume it afterward.

This way, you can also keep the meat’s flavor from deteriorating.

You will notice that the ground beef turned brown in the process, but, fortunately, it’s still safe to use for your recipes.

READ MORE: 50 Best Ground Beef Recipes

How Can I Determine If Ground Beef is Still Suitable For Consumption?


Just like with other food items, make it a habit to check the expiry date of your ground beef.

If you see that the meat is still within the “best before” period, then this implies that it’s still safe to use, so long as it has been stored and transported accordingly.

Furthermore, you can tell if the ground beef is not yet spoiled by smelling it.

Nothing’s safer than discarding the meat immediately after you smell something strange.

You know the usual or natural smell of fresh and raw ground beef, so it’s easy to distinguish it from a spoiled one.

The general rule of thumb is that if you smell something off, don’t think twice about whether to keep it or not.

Finally, observe the ground beef’s texture; is it greasy or slimy? Toss the meat around to examine it thoroughly.

If you notice that it has a gluey texture, this could signify that it’s nearing spoilage or bacteria have already accumulated on the meat.

On the other hand, if the ground beef smells fresh, the texture is still excellent, and it’s still within the “consume before” period, it’s stored and transported correctly, then your meat is safe to eat.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, ground beef is always on top of our list whenever we go grocery shopping; hence, ensuring its quality and freshness is a must to protect our family from food poisoning.

Following proper meat handling and storage can extend ground beef’s shelf life; preserve its flavor and quality.

Make sure to consume the meat within its “best before” period and always check for spoilage signs before eating it.

Remember, ground beef that turns brown when stored in the fridge doesn’t mean it has decayed. This is a natural occurrence due to metmyoglobin.

You can distinguish bad ground beef by its smell, texture, taste, and color.

So, if you notice that something is off, dispose of the meat right away.

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Hi, I love to cook! I have been passionate about cooking for as long as I can remember. My favorite foods are Italian, Mexican, and Indian. I'm not afraid to share my love of cooking with my family, friends & the whole world.

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