Nobody likes to waste a delicious steak that has gone past its use-by date, but sometimes it’s better to throw it away than becoming sick, right?
In this post we’re going to answer, can you eat steak after its use by date to help you decide if you should save or throw it away.
Let’s take a closer look…
Use By Date vs Sell By Date
First, we need to understand the difference between “Use By Date” and “Sell By Date” to determine whether you can safely consume a product after the date has passed.
When a food label includes “Use By Date” it is referring to peak quality.
These dates are set by manufacturers as recommended expiration dates and indicate that the product may not taste or look its best once this time period has passed, but that it will still be safe to eat.
The “Sell By Date” is also set by manufacturers to inform retailers how long to display a product on the shelf.
It also refers to peak quality and it is recommended not to buy products after this date has passed, but they are still safe for consumption.
Keep this in mind when you’re deciding whether or not to purchase a product that has been marked as past its peak quality.
Can You Eat Steak After Its Use By Date?
In short, yes.
If the steak has been defrosted and is handled correctly it will still be ok to eat as long as there are no signs of molding or discoloration, the meat is still solid and has not become slimy or sticky.
It may taste a little tough but if you’ve cooked it properly to the right temperature, nobody should complain about eating steak that’s past its use-by date.
Now let’s consider some reasons why you shouldn’t eat steak after its use by date…
When Can’t You Eat Steak After Its Use By Date?
There are several scenarios when you should never eat steak past its use by date, some of which include…
Bacterial contamination: If the meat is contaminated with bacteria harmful to humans, eating it will make you sick.
Common examples of these types of bacteria are e-coli (which is often found in undercooked meat) and listeria.
Listeria is particularly nasty because it can take up to 70 days for symptoms of the virus to appear. Before this time has passed, you will not know that you are sick and will infect others around you.
Mold: If you spot mold growing on the steak, no matter how big or small, you should not eat it.
Mold is a fungus that thrives in moist environments and can be extremely difficult to get rid of once it has grown.
If mold has grown on your steak after its use-by date, throw it away immediately so there is no chance that you, or your family members, will eat it.
If you do not see any mold but the steak has a slimy texture and a pungent smell, throw it away.
Funky Smell: Checking how the steak smells before you cook it is always a good idea.
To summarize, you can safely eat steak after its use by date if you’ve handled the meat correctly (i.e. cooked it thoroughly to the correct temperature), there are no signs of molding or discoloration, the meat is still solid, and has not become sticky or slimy.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to eating steak, even if the date has passed.
It’s better to lose a steak than receive food poisoning and spend the next couple of days out of action!
If you have fresh, well-cooked meat at home that is past its expiry date but within the use by dates for safety reasons given above, consider freezing it so it doesn’t go to waste.
Place the meat in a freezer storage bag or airtight box and label with the date, weight, and type of meat as well as use by/ expiry date.
How Long Is Steak Good After The Use By Date?
You need to use your best judgment when it comes to eating steak that’s past its use-by date.
If it’s weeks or months past then you can be fairly certain that it would make you sick.
However, if the date has passed within a couple of days, you can take comfort in knowing that at most it’s just losing some of its flavor and tenderness.
Having said this, according to most sources online you should only eat steak up to 3-5 days after the use by date.
However, this may vary depending on your location and how well you’ve stored your meat.
If you’re really not sure then err on the side of caution and throw it out.
Why Freezing Steak Is Great
If you notice that you’ve got some steak in your fridge that you suspect may go off in the next couple of days, use your freezer to your advantage.
Freezing steak is super easy and ensures that your meat will last as long as possible.
All you need to do is…
Put the steak in a freezer storage bag or airtight box
Label it with date, weight, and type of meat as well as use by/ expiry date
Store it at -15°C or lower for best results
If you want to reduce the risk of freezer burn then it is a smart idea to wrap your steak in foil.
If you’re an experienced food-waster you might be thinking that freezing your meat will result in a loss of flavor and texture – however, this isn’t the case with steak!
In fact, most people have found this not to be true and can’t tell the difference between fresh and frozen steak.
It’s important to keep in mind that eating off/bad steak can make you seriously ill.
It’s not just a case of having the worst tasting steak you’ve ever eaten, but it might actually have dangerous bacteria in it which can make you very sick.
If you’re unsure about whether or not your steak is safe to eat then cut your losses and throw it away.
It’s also a good idea to cook your steak all the way through especially if you’ve got kids, elderly people, or anyone else who might not have a fully developed immune system.
If you follow these guidelines then there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your delicious steak for as long as possible!
Don’t be scared of eating steak that is a couple of days past its use-by date, especially if it’s been stored correctly.
There are no major health risks if handled correctly.
Before you cook it check for any mold, discoloration, and funky smells that could be a sign that the steak has gone bad.
In conclusion, yes you can absolutely eat steak that is past its use by date.
As long as the steak is in a good state (no mold, smells fine, no discoloration), there are no signs of food poisoning, and it’s been stored correctly you should be absolutely fine.
It’s helpful to remember that meat-eating might not look so appetizing after it has passed its use by date but this is perfectly safe to eat.
As long as you use your common sense and best judgment then you should be absolutely fine – but if in doubt, throw the stuff out!