That package of hot dogs you’ve had in your fridge for a week and a half. Well its probably spoiled and you shouldn’t eat it.
Because sausage is often cured or pre-cooked it can difficult to tell when its spoiled. Even though smoked and cured meats last longer they still can start to spoil after about two weeks even in the fridge.
How Can You Tell if Sausage is Spoiled?
As a general rule for inspecting sausage for any signs of spoilage start with the smell. Raw meat usually doesn’t have a strong smell. Spoiled raw sausage meat will have a pungent and rancid smell which smells off. Next check the appearance of the sausage and look out for any changes in color or texture.
A gray color is usually an indication, as well as any nasty odor known as “putrefaction”.
If your sausage is frozen it may help to thaw it out first. This way you can get a better sense of the smell and overall look of the meat.
Check for any best by dates on the packaging. If the date has past then to be safe get rid of the sausage.
Signs Cured or Smoked Sausage Has Gone Bad
Sometimes small indications will let you know a sausage is beginning to spoil. With cooked sausage it can start to become slimy and sticky on the outside.
When cooked sausages are fresh, not raw but recently made. The color is uniform throughout.
The outside color on hot dogs or cooked sausages will change as bacteria begins to grow.
This will not appear all at once. Instead it will take on different shades of the color, forming in spots. No longer will it be one color throughout, but multiple spots and lines will show up.
Taste or smell is not always the best way to tell if it has spoiled. Some bacteria hides very well and can still make someone sick if eaten.
It is always good to know a date of when the sausage was processed. Then you can have a indication of how long it can be kept.
This is with cooked sausages. They will generally take longer to spoil than fresh sausages. Fresh or raw sausages perish a lot faster.
Signs Fresh or Raw Sausage has Spoiled
The easiest way to tell is raw sausages have gone bad is smell and looks.
Fresh or raw sausage shouldn’t have a bad smell. It really wont have a strong smell if its still good.
Again color changes can be clues into how the meat has held up being stored.
Look out for a dullness in color or perhaps a hint of green in the meat. This means the meat has began to rot.
What Causes Meat To Spoil?
Microbial spoilage is what happens to meats over time. This is due to the growth of microorganisms or activity of enzymes which are naturally present in the meat.
Keeping sausage in the fridge only slows the process but doesn’t prevent it completely.
Freezing does however prevent microbial spoilage but can degrade the quality of the meat. Also known as freezer burn.
Is Brown Sausage bad?
Brown sausage is a signal that the sausage is going bad. This discoloration can result from oxygen exposure to the meat. Usually the meat is beginning to dry out. This doesn’t mean it is unsafe but the taste might not be as good.
Meat is often made to be red (often by using carbon dioxide gas) in stores to give it a more appealing appearance. This can be a marketing technique but it can also help you find the freshest meat. Muscle tissue is not red. Like our blood it is not until being exposed to oxygen does the red color appear.
Natural meat is brown or grey just like it can be red in color. Good meat that is not heavily processed or altered can turn grey in color due to oxidization.
When this comes down to sausage in your fridge. The pinker or redder it is usually the freshest the meat is. When it turns brown or gray then it has been sitting for too long.
How To Tell If Ground Breakfast Sausage Is Bad
Ground breakfast sausage does not last longer than other sausages. In fact it will not last as long as dry cured sausage. Since ground breakfast sausage is fresh it will go bad just like any other meat.
Any change in smell or appearance is a sign the sausage is going bad. Sell by date is a good indication, but this also isn’t perfect. Since its not really regulated by the government. This is usually done by the manufactures to help stores cycle through inventory.
How To Tell if Chicken Sausage Is Bad
Chicken sausage that is either raw or cooked will have the same traits when it has spoiled.
These traits are similar to other types of sausage. A nasty odor or discoloration will occur in the chicken sausage.
Fresh chicken is light pink in color and has very little odor.
Spoiled chicken will have a dull, grayish color and a disgusting odor.
Can You Eat Sausages Out of Date?
Usually the expiration dates are used to indicate peak freshness. This is true for a lot of foods. More perishable foods should not be eaten past their date, but it doesn’t mean the sausage will always be bad by that date.
Depending on how the sausage was stored. If it was properly refrigerated the whole time, in 40 degree F temperatures or below. Then it should be safe to go past the date a day or two.
The date on the packages might not always be exact. To be safe and smart you should be cautious. Eating past the expiration or sell by date is not smart. This date could be more conservative than needed though.
This can be observed with many grocery foods. There is controversy between the expiration dates put onto food labels. The show “Adam Ruins Everything” has a episode on this.
Still with meats I would safe not to eat past the dates. Use your senses and best judgement if you are going to try.
How Long Can You Keep Sausage In The Fridge?
First always make sure your fridge is clean, and proper temperature is being maintained. This is a good step in assuring your food will be stored adequately.
A clean fridge will stop the spread of any bacteria. Same with making sure the fridge is functioning correctly.
How long you can store sausage in the fridge depends. Uncooked sausage is a shorter amount of time than cooked. Two days for uncooked sausage, one week for cooked sausage.
How Long Can You Freeze Sausage?
Frozen sausage should be good for up to two months in a freezer. After that an the taste and quality will diminish. Freezer burn will happen and the meat just isn’t as good. This is because sausage is thin and more delicate meat. It will not spoil but will not worth cooking after two months.
Should Sausage be Pink Inside?
Sausage should not still be pink inside after cooking. Though this does happen and it is because of salt (sodium nitrite) added. Salt preserves the meat to help it retain its color for longer. This can be done to keep the sausage looking fresh in the store.
The salt also can start to cure the meat. Once it has been cured the color will retain even after cooking. The color retention could also be caused by another food additive. Sodium erythorbate which is used to speed up curing and retain the pink color in meat.
What Happens If You Eat Bad Sausage?
The outcome of eating spoiled sausage depends on the individual. Just like any food borne illness, the young and old are more susceptible to severe sickness. Also if the person has any immune disorders.
Bad sausage that doesn’t have any harmful bacteria will just taste off. You might get a upset stomach but nothing too serious. So eating meat that has gone bad doesn’t always mean you will get sick.
The severity of sickness can depend on the type of sausage eaten. Poultry sausage being the worst type to eat when its bad. This is because it can carry salmonella.
Bad beef or pork sausage eaten will usually result in diarrhea, vomiting, cramps or nausea. Again this all depends on the situation, how bad was the food. The persons own health levels the severity of any food pathogens.