Over the years, vacuum sealing technology has become popular because it extends the shelf life of meat and reduces the risks of spoilage due to temperature fluctuations or bacterial growth.
When the meat is vacuum sealed, the extra moisture and oxygen are removed from the bag, which preserves the taste and texture of the meat for a long time. That’s the reason people nowadays prefer vacuum-sealed meat for storage.
However, the meat can still go bad besides vacuum sealing and good packaging. But many people don’t know if sealed meat is bad.
The answer is simple. When the meat goes bad, a few signs indicate that it is no longer safe to eat. The most common signs are slimy texture, awful smell, greenish color, and visible mold growth.
If you encounter any such situation, it is wiser to discard the meat as soon as possible because contaminated meat can cause severe food poisoning. If you keep storing the meat in the freezer, the fumes contaminate other goods.
In this article, we have compiled everything about vacuum-sealed meat. We’ll explain how to tell if the vacuum-sealed meat is bad.
Furthermore, we’ll share which factors affect the shelf life of vacuum-sealed meat and how you can prevent the meat from going bad.
So, if you are interested to learn more about vacuum-sealed meat and its storage life, read the article below in detail. Let’s get started.
How can vacuum-sealed meat go bad?
Vacuum sealing is undoubtedly a great way to extend the storage life of meat. However, under some circumstances, vacuum-sealed meat can go bad.
The most common factors that can cause the spoilage of vacuum-sealed meat are as follows;
Improper storage can be a great reason for meat spoilage. When you keep the vacuum-sealed meat in the fridge or at room temperature without wrapping it tightly in aluminum foil, it is more likely to spoil than ordinary meat.
The temperature changes and fumes of other food items will start deteriorating the texture and taste of your vacuum-sealed meat.
Besides that, if you keep the meat out of the freezer for more than 30 minutes, bacteria will start multiplying quickly and contaminate the vacuumed meat.
Keeping the vacuum-sealed meat at room or above 40 degrees celsius causes the bacteria to multiply rapidly. This bacterial growth changes the texture and smell of meat & makes it unhealthy to eat.
Also, vacuum-sealed meat can go bad even when you keep it in the freezer or refrigerator. This happens because the meat temperature changes from high to low and again high when you open the freeze multiple times a day.
The temperature fluctuations encourage bacterial growth and contaminate the vacuum-sealed meat.
Exposure to oxygen
Sometimes the vacuum-sealed meat goes bad because of the tiny invisible holes in the packages, which allow the oxygen to enter the bag.
As you know, oxygen is the main element that provides a medium for the bacteria to settle down. High exposure to oxygen promotes the growth of bacteria in meat, which affects its taste, smell, and texture and makes it no longer safe to eat.
Low-quality of meat
Low-quality meat can be a major reason for its spoilage. For instance, sometimes, the meat looks fine and fresh from the outer layer. However, deep down, it has some bacterial growth which increases with time and affects the overall quality of vacuumed meat.
How to tell if the vacuum-sealed meat is bad?
Vacuum sealing is usually done to reduce the risks of meat spoilage. But due to multiple reasons, the vacuum-sealed meat goes bad. If that happens to your meat, it will show some signs that will indicate its spoilage.
Factors that tell the meat is bad.
The factors that help you determine that the vacuum-sealed meat has gone bad are as follows;
When the meat goes bad, its smell becomes awful. After settling down in the meat, the bacteria release fumes which are extremely unpleasant and hard to bear humans.
So, if you feel any strong and sour smell coming from your vacuum-sealed meat, throw it away quickly.
If the meat is in the spoilage process and you feel no bad odor, but still you are in doubt, check the texture.
Normally the meat has a soft and juicy texture. However, when the bacteria settles down, its texture gets sticky and slimy, which indicates that it is no longer safe to eat.
Color change is the main factor in determining meat spoilage. The best way to find the color change is to rinse the vacuumed meat and leave it for a few minutes to dry. If it remains reddish, you can eat the meat.
However, it probably has gone bad if it changes its color and becomes grey, greenish or brown.
The spoiled meat tastes terrible. Usually, it is not recommended to taste spoiled meat because it has high bacterial growth, and you might fall sick for weeks after eating it.
If you notice any of the above changes in meat, throw it away as soon as possible. It is highly unhealthy to eat; if you keep storing it, the fumes can also spoil other stored items.
Which factors affect the shelf life of vacuum-sealed meat?
The main factors that affect the shelf life of vacuum-sealed meat are as follows;
- Oxygen exposure
- Storage type
- Temperature changes
- Method of sealing
- The freshness of meat to be stored
- Quality of meat
All these factors, as mentioned earlier, play a vital role in increasing and decreasing the shelf life of vacuum-sealed meat.
How can you prevent the meat from going bad?
Even after vacuum sealing, the meat can go bad quickly. You can prevent meat spoilage by taking some preventive measures, which are written below.
Before sealing the meat, ensure you have removed all excess air and moisture in the bag. Check if there is any gap between the meat pieces.
Sealing the meat properly will prevent it from freezer burn and forming crystals. Also, it will extend the life of meat.
Avoid checking regularly
Another way to keep the meat fresh for weeks and months is to avoid checking it regularly. When you check the meat regularly, it undergoes temperature changes which encourage the bacteria to grow inside it. That’s why it is wise to check the meat after 2 or 3 days.
Place the meat at a constant temperature.
To prevent the spoilage of meat, place it at a constant temperature. Make sure you place the meat in the freezer where it experiences the least temperature changes.
What tips should you consider while storing vacuum-sealed meat?
Vacuum sealing is the best way to increase the storage life of meat. Here are some useful tips to ensure that the vacuum-sealed meat stays fresh throughout storage.
- While vacuum sealing, remove all the excess air and moisture from the freezer bag.
- Place the meat at a constant temperature in the freezer because the less it undergoes temperature changes, the less it is likely to spoil.
- Use heavy-duty resealable bags for storing the meat.
- Vacuum seal and store the meat in small portions, so you only thaw the portions you need to cook. It will prevent temperature fluctuations and bacterial growth.
- Do not add the marinade mixture to the freezer bag because the marinade will turn into a crystal and moisture.
How long does vacuum-sealed meat last?
Vacuum-sealed meat usually has a longer shelf life than ordinary meat. This shelf life can be increased or decreased depending on your storage method.
At room temperature
Keeping the raw vacuum-sealed meat at room temperature won’t last more than 12 hours. However, if it is cooked, never try to keep it for more than 2 hours.
The reason is bacteria will multiply rapidly at room temperature, and moisture in meat provides a great medium for their growth.
The experts do not recommend storing vacuum-sealed meat at room temperature because it is always at a higher risk of spoilage due to bacterial growth.
In the refrigerator
The raw vacuum-sealed meat can last for a week or 10 days in the refrigerator. Cooked, vacuumed meat can last for 2-3 days only.
When you keep the meat in the refrigerator, low temperature slows down the growth of bacteria and preserves the freshness of meat for days or weeks.
Though, the meat can still go bad because, in the refrigerator, the meat undergoes temperature changes which can cause bacterial growth.
In the freezer
The best way to store vacuumed sealed meat so far is freezing. In the freezer, raw vacuum-sealed meat can last for several months, whereas cooked meat can last for 2 months only.
In the freezer, the temperature is approximately 0-degree celsius. At this temperature, bacteria are unable to grow. The professionals recommend freezing the vacuum-sealed meat to extend its shelf life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to eat bad vacuum-sealed meat?
Eating bad vacuum-sealed meat is not a good idea because it contains high amounts of bacteria, which can make you sick for weeks. Eating bad meat can cause vomiting, stomach cramps, abdominal pain, and severe food poisoning.
So, if the vacuum-sealed meat in your fridge is bad, throw it away as soon as possible. It is not safe to eat.
How to vacuum seal the meat?
Vacuum sealing is a quick and effective method of storing meat because it preserves the freshness of meat and extends its shelf life.
To vacuum seal the meat, all you have to do is;
- On the vacuum sealer.
- Put the meat in the heavy-duty resealable bag.
- Place the bag in the vacuum sealer to remove excess air and moisture.
- Seal the bag.
- Place it in the refrigerator or freezer.
Why does the vacuumed meat smell like sulfur?
When you buy vacuum-sealed meat from the market, it contains preservatives that maintain its freshness for a long time. These preservatives include sulfur dioxide gas which smells extremely unpleasant.
If you feel that smell, don’t worry, the meat has not gone bad. It’s just sulfur dioxide. You can treat that smell by using the method written on the meat packaging.
Vacuum sealing is an effective way to preserve the freshness of meat and extend its shelf life. However, even after sealing, the meat can go bad. But the burning question is, “How to tell if the vacuum-sealed meat is bad.”
When the vacuum-sealed meat goes bad, its color, texture, and smell change quickly. Due to high bacterial growth, the smell becomes awful, the texture gets slimy, and the color changes to grey or brown. If you notice any such changes in meat, throw the meat away.
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