How long can ground beef be kept in the fridge?

I bought fresh, extra lean, ground beef on friday and forgot it at work in the fridge. I bought more saturday for dinner and forgot to freeze the beef I bought friday and its still in the fridge. Would it be okay to still use? Or should I toss it? Its a total of 5 days now.

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Sam1148
Sam1148 October 26, 2011

Smell it. That's the best way to tell. It should be okay if it was actually fresh. (which is rare for ground beef at a supermarket).
If it smells okay. brown it up and freeze it instead of freezing raw. Use that for chili, pasta, tacos etc.

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Sam1148
Sam1148 October 26, 2011

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boulangere
boulangere October 26, 2011

Agree with sam1148. Give it the smell test. When in doubt, throw it out. Consider it cheap insurance.

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meganvt01
meganvt01 October 26, 2011

I think the smell test can be more than a little subjective, depending on how sensitive your nose is. I have a super sensitive nose and I can smell ground beef turning after 3 days for sure (my husband on the other hand would go 10 days probably). Kansas State has a good guide http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/store/ksu_refrig_freeze.pdf and they suggest 1- 2 days. Based on the potential hazards in ground beef generally, I'd go on the safe side and toss the meat.

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boulangere
boulangere October 26, 2011

Yes, 3 days is conservative, 5 days is on the outside. Fresh or not fresh honestly doesn't matter, as long as the meat had consistently been kept outside the TDZ, temperature danger zone of above 41 degrees. Seriously, in a grocery store, they likely receive ground meat in large "chubs" which they break down into consumer-sized packs. And all that after considering how long you may have had it outside refrigeration during the trip home. When in doubt, throw it out. And consider it cheap insurance.

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heatmatt
heatmatt October 26, 2011

okay, I think I will toss it....Thanks everyone!

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Matthew P Hill
Matthew P Hill July 16, 2016

WAIT!!! I'll eat it!

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PHIL
PHIL July 16, 2016

really not worth the risk especially if it smells

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Cav
Cav July 16, 2016

After four years it probably no longer smells, but has formed into a creature very unlike a cow.

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