Food Safety Issues/Ground beef


I have ground beef in the refrigerator that says to use or freezeby 3/15. Today is 3/19. Should i use it? It looks brown.

Hi Diane,

Ground meats are especially prone for containing harmful bacteria which can grow to a level that can make you ill if not used or frozen by the "use-by" date.  Since you can't tell the safety of the meat by sight or smell, we can only go by the date that is supplied to help us know when to keep or pitch a product.

In this case, with the ground beef being 4 days past it's use by date, the recommendation is to not take a chance and pitch the meat.



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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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