Sometimes when I open a package of ground beef, the meat has turned grayish brown on the inside. It smells OK, but it doesnít look very appetizing and I wonder if itís safe to eat. Is it?
Most likely, itís fine. Ground beefís bright red color comes from a pigment, myoglobin, which becomes red when exposed to oxygen (turning it into oxymyoglobin).
The plastic wrap covering the ground beef you see in the grocery store is permeable, allowing some oxygen to seep through and keep the meat on the exterior red. But ground beef thatís not exposed to oxygen -- like the meat thatís on the interior -- will often lose its red color after a few days.
However, if the ground beef is gray or brown throughout, it could be beginning to spoil. If you do detect an off odor or if the meat seems sticky or slimy, throw it away. Although bacteria that cause spoilage donít always cause illness, thereís no sense in taking a chance.
Chow Line: When ground beef turns gray (10/12/12) ‚ÄĒ Home