Food Safety Issues/Bratwurst dated 2/4/16


The package has been refrigerated and unopened.  Is is ok to cook and eat if it smells ok?  thanks, Fonya Helm

Hi Fonya,

The recommendation for ground meat products such as bratwurst is to refrigerate and use them within the date specified on the package (if it is a "best if used by" date).  If the date is a "sell by" date then the recommendation is to refrigerate and use the product within 2 days or freeze for future use.

With your refrigerated bratwurst beyond both of these dates, the recommendation is to not take a chance and dispose of the product.  Not smelling off odors is not a guarantee that the product is still safe as bacteria that cause food borne illness do not give off any indicators that they are present.  Off odors, flavor or texture are signs of food spoilage, which amazingly do not get you ill.

To be safe....pitch the brats.



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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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