June 5, 2024 at 3:32 pm

Can You Cook Meat That’s About To Go Bad To Buy More Time?

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

We’ve all been there. We put meat in the fridge instead of the freezer because we’re planning to cook it in the next day or two, then life gets in the way.

And I mean, sometimes we just don’t feel like the meal we’d planned for that night, right?

If you’ve got meat in your fridge that “needs to be eaten,” is it okay to cook it and then store it for a few more days?

Let’s find out!

The answer is yes. But also no.

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Cooking will destroy the worst of any pathogens that have started to grow, so you should be able to keep it in the fridge for a day or two.

But no longer.

To understand why, you have to get into the difference between “use by” and “best before” and “sell by” dates, all of which may vary depending on where you live.

The UK Food Standards Agency has some specific advice.

“You can cook food until midnight of the use by date listed on the product, and then cool and keep it in the fridge. This is because cooking kills any pathogens in the food and gives you a little more time to use it up.”

That said, it doesn’t extend it forever.

“You must eat the food within 48 hours or freeze it to eat later. If you freeze the food, make sure that you label what it is and the date it was frozen.”

This is only applicable to unopened packages that have been sealed by the store, and also you absolutely have to cook it by the use by date.

After that date, authorities can’t promise pathogens haven’t built up to more than simple cooking ca handle.

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The “best before” label has more to do with quality than actual safety, so whether or not you still want to use it depends on your personal taste.

If you’re a fan of the “sniff test,” you should know that while some bacteria will produce an odor, that’s not true of them all.

So, you’re taking a risk, even if it’s a small one.

If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you’re not likely to want to take it a second time.

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