Should I eat it? Ground Lamb edition
July 16, 2014 3:36 PM   Subscribe

I have two packages of ground lamb that I bought for making some spicy lamb burgers. I got them on Saturday, and the sale by date is for the 21st. I pulled them from the meat drawer just now and the plastic wrap sealing the top of each tray of lamb was very taut and bulging. I pierced the wraps and a really foul smell came from each package. The problem is- the lamb is still a healthy looking bright red and it is not past the freshness date. The meat does have an odor, but not as strong as the air that escaped the package at first. Would you go ahead and cook it up or toss it?
posted by catrae to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'll eat anything, and I'd toss that. Foul off-gassing and even slightly odourous meat is a total no-go.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:38 PM on July 16, 2014 [23 favorites]

I'd toss it, and I usually say "Eat it!" Smelly ground meat is a no.
posted by rtha at 3:41 PM on July 16, 2014

If you're brave you could go on an exploratory mission to find the bit in there generating the gas. Or you could be sensible and chuck it with no regrets.
posted by colin_l at 3:41 PM on July 16, 2014

Please do not eat that.
posted by something something at 3:45 PM on July 16, 2014 [5 favorites]

I eat lots and lots of things that would make people on MeFi shudder, but I will not eat meat from a package with a taut, bulging wrapper. I'd also be mad at whatever store sold me the meat and I'd bring it back for a refund. Bulging plastic on a properly refrigerated package of meat before sell-by date likely means that the meat was mishandled before you bought it.
posted by quince at 3:47 PM on July 16, 2014 [27 favorites]

I would take it back to the butcher counter I bought it from and ask them. I suspect they'll replace it for you.
posted by straw at 3:53 PM on July 16, 2014 [6 favorites]

I'd throw the meat far away immediately AND SIMULTANEOUSLY take it back where I got it in order to make a very smelly complaint.

Maybe first check the temperature of the meat drawer.
posted by emilyw at 3:55 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Good heavens no.

An airtight package--whether vacseal or tin can--that is bulging is unequivocal Bad News.

Chuck it in the bin.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:55 PM on July 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

.... I mean, you have a nose for a reason and I'm pretty sure this is it.
posted by emilyw at 3:55 PM on July 16, 2014 [21 favorites]

Lamb can be kind of gamey, especially if it's very fatty. But I'm assuming you're familiar with the smell of lamb and don't usually find it "foul" -- so yeah, toss immediately.
posted by neroli at 3:58 PM on July 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Maybe first check the temperature of the meat drawer.

This. So very much this. Put a container of water in the meat drawer overnight, test the temperature in the morning. It should be no higher than 4C/60F (I think that conversion is correct)--2 or 3 is better.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:59 PM on July 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

It's still red despite being bad probably because they treat it with carbon monoxide to keep it looking so. Nth-ing please don't eat it!
posted by hollyholly at 4:00 PM on July 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

Oh, and to fffm: 4C is closer to 40F. 60F will definitely spoil your meat!
posted by hollyholly at 4:04 PM on July 16, 2014 [5 favorites]

Definitely do not eat this! Also, if you or your neighbors have pets, try to dispose of this scary tainted meat in a way that they don't get into the trash and eat it.
posted by elizardbits at 4:04 PM on July 16, 2014

Few things in this world are more disgusting than bad ground lamb. It goes bad super fast, too. It shouldn't be THIS bad this fast, but even so, four days from purchase, even assuming it was ground on Saturday, would be too much for me. But a bulging gassy package? Uh uh.
posted by HotToddy at 4:12 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone...I have changed the dinner menu to chicken mole enchiladas! I'm going to try and get a refund.
posted by catrae at 4:14 PM on July 16, 2014 [7 favorites]

The sell by date should not have been marked so far into the future -- it may have been in error. Ground meat goes bad really, really quickly. Even if it was freshly butchered and ground on Saturday I wouldn't expect it to last past today in the fridge.
posted by telegraph at 4:47 PM on July 16, 2014

Just to add another voice: off-gassing and foul-smelling? No way I'd eat that! But I'll be right over to taste-test those enchiladas and make sure they're safe for you.....

And hollyholly is right on the temp: if I recall, the conversion is (5 x Y) + 0 degrees Celsius = (9 x Y) + 32 degrees Farenheit (Celsius' freezing temp being 0, the equal of 32F). Refridgerators are supposed to keep their contents at or just slightly below 40F.
posted by easily confused at 5:06 PM on July 16, 2014

Just chiming in to agree that the package was probably marked incorrectly (maybe they intended it to be 7/12, not 7/21?). The USDA says that ground meat only lasts 1-2 days in the fridge.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:18 PM on July 16, 2014

Get the refund, enjoy the enchiladas. I'm not picky, but I draw the line at stinky.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:38 PM on July 16, 2014

Meat storage at grocery stores is (if done correctly) at a lower temperature than the average home refrigerator and the equipment is checked for correct operation much more frequently than home units. They may package a shipment with the same sell by date a week in advance and keep most of it at near freezing in the back and trickle it out to the display case as demanded. This is why the sell by date may be a week off in the store but home users are advised to cook it within a few days. They will likely give you a refund but check your fridge and be aware that five days at home is pushing it.
posted by Candleman at 11:16 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

THE NOSE KNOWS - if in doubt, sniff it out! "good" meat spells meaty, if its even a little stinky it's not good.
posted by rebent at 9:09 AM on July 17, 2014

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