How to Tell if Vacuum Sealed Meat is Bad?

When vacuum-sealed meat is still in its packaging, you can’t tell if it’s bad unless it has developed an unpleasant odor. Check the meat with a plastic or a q-tip to check for discoloration, sliminess, or a bad smell. Throw them aside and try again if you discover any of these traits. You might want to think about discarding the meat if the odor doesn’t go away. If the meat is still within its use-by date, it’s still best to get a refund.

Vacuum Sealed Meat

One of the most important things you can check when purchasing vacuum-packed meat is its color. If it turns brown, it’s spoiled. If it’s reddish, it’s still fresh. It should also be juicy and have good elasticity. If it turns slimy or sticky, you’ll have to discard it.

If you find that the meat has a foul odor, it’s probably spoiled. Vacuum-sealed meat should be wrapped in plastic or airtight plastic bags. Any tiny hole could cause food to go bad. In addition to smell, rotten meat can be identified by color, texture, and texture. Moreover, the human sense of smell is highly sensitive. If the meat has an unpleasant odor, you’re probably eating a rotten piece of meat.

Vacuum Seal Meat

Vacuum sealing is a method of food packaging in which all air is removed from the package before it is sealed. If you’ve ever stored meat in your freezer without vacuum-sealing the bag before eating it, you’ll know how bad it tastes when you finally eat it.

A freezer burn is a taste you’re getting, and you’ll need to vacuum seal your meat before putting it in the freezer to avoid ‘freezer burn.’ When meat absorbs water, it usually becomes sour. When a perishable, such as meat, is vacuum-sealed and stored in a freezer, you get a reliable storage solution. Depending on the type of meat you’re storing, it can last a few months to a few years.

What are the Advantages of Vacuum Sealing?

Vacuum sealing has many advantages:

  • Makes cooking more organized: Placing vacuum-sealed meat in the fridge takes less space. You can easily locate the meat you need. It is always available to you already cut up and prepped, so you do not have to mess up the kitchen.
  • Protects meat from freezer burn: The meat is fresh and soft through vacuum sealing. Without moisture, you avoid the icy layer that forms on meat in the freezer.
  • Makes food taste better: Vacuum-sealed meat gives your food a richer flavor. You can marinate the meat inside the plastic bag to give it more taste. Keeping the meat in the freezer can diminish its texture and taste over time. Vacuum sealing helps preserve the juices, texture, and actual taste of the meat.
  • Saves you money in the long run: You do not need to go to the market for fresh meat each time you need to cook. Buy meat in bulk, cut it up into smaller portions, seal them, and they will sustain you for a long time. It is certainly less costly as you save up on trips to the market, and you can even get good deals for buying in bulk.

How to Tell if Vacuum Sealed Meat is Bad?

Here are some easy ways to know that vacuum-sealed meat is bad:

Check the Seal Before Opening

Check if the vacuum-packed meat is still tightly sealed in the pouch when you take it out of the fridge. The air has gotten in if the meat inside the pouch is loose. If there are any signs of leaking juices or the pouch feels slack against the meat, the seal has most likely been compromised, and air has gotten into the pouch, spoiling the meat.

Check the Color of the Meat

After rinsing and patting dry the meat and allowing it to stand for 30 minutes, the natural color should return to the meat. If the meat appears to be a grey or brown unnatural color after 30 minutes and still has an offensive odor, it has most likely spoiled.

Check How the Meat Feels

By inspecting the meat itself, you can get a good idea of what it is like. After removing the meat from the package, you’ll notice an unusual odor. However, if the odor is particularly strong, you should also examine the texture of the meat. Meat that is normally moist will have a moist feel to it. However, if the meat you’re carrying feels slimy and sticky, it isn’t good. The sticky, slimy texture indicates that the meat has gone bad. So you’re not going to be able to eat that meat.

The Meat was Sealed, How can it be Bad?

If you’ve had the misfortune of opening vacuum-sealed meat that has spoiled but is still edible, there are a few possibilities.

Tiny Unnoticeable Air Hole

A vacuum-sealed product may appear to be sealed at times, but a small air hole may have allowed oxygen to enter the packet. This hole will be large enough to allow spoilage bacteria to multiply but not large enough to loosen the pouch around the meat. An air hole can form for various reasons, including the original heat seal failing to fully seal the bag, a slight crinkle during sealing, a minute hole in the pouch used before sealing, or a minute hole pierced after sealing.

Incorrect Storage

Bacteria can multiply if the product has been out of the cold chain for more than 30 minutes or stored at a temperature above 5oC / 40oF. This could have happened before or after the meat was packed. It only takes one refrigerator or refrigerated delivery truck to have a unit that doesn’t stay cold long enough for spoilage to begin. Meat that has been stored above the load level in a grocery aisle display, in your shopping cart, or on your way home for more than 30 minutes can also shorten its shelf life. Also, depending on the setting, domestic home refrigerators vary greatly in how cold they keep food. The temperature can even differ by a couple of degrees between the top and bottom of the refrigerator and the front and back.

Close to ‘Use By’ Before Packing

The length of time the meat was left to hang before being butchered and packed can also affect the vacuum-sealed meat’s shelf life. Before packing, some butchers like to hang the meat to age it. Tenderness and flavor are improved as a result. If the meat’s outer layer was not been properly trimmed before packing, some of the spoiled meat could have made its way into the vacuum-packed product.

Just a Bad Piece of Meat

Sometimes nothing happened to the meat on the way to your kitchen, and it was simply a bad cut of meat, to begin with. Even with all of the safeguards to ensure that quality is maintained throughout the entire meat processing process, a bad piece of meat will occasionally find its way into the system, and it is no one’s fault. For example, an injury to an animal may have resulted in a growth deep within the meat. This would be impossible to see unless it was discovered during the cutting process. However, the growth could be hidden inside with a large roasting joint, causing the meat to rot from the inside out.

How Long does Vacuum-Sealed Meat Last?

Vacuum Sealed Meat

Let’s categorize the answers based on the storage method to help you get a more accurate duration:

In the Freezer

Freezing meat and other food items have always been the most efficient and effective storage method. Place the meat in a plastic or freezer bag, place it in the freezer, and set the temperature to the appropriate level.
Generally, frozen meat without vacuum sealing will keep it safe for six to eight months. The FDA recommends that cooked meat be kept in the freezer for two to three months.
Meanwhile, vacuum-sealed raw meat can be stored in the freezer for two to three years by removing the air. On the other hand, Vacuum-sealed cooked meat can be frozen for up to 12 months.

In the Refrigerator

Except in extreme long-term storage and survival cases. Most people keep their meat in the refrigerator rather than in a separate freezer. It will take three to five days for raw steaks and chops to spoil if kept in a refrigerator at 40°F or below.

Cooked meats and meat dishes have a three-to-four-day storage window. On the other hand, Vacuum sealing can extend the shelf life of raw meat by up to 14 days. The storage time for vacuum-sealed cooked meats in the fridge is reduced to four to five days.

At Room Temperature

Meat, for example, should not be left out in the open at room temperature. Otherwise, bacteria found in raw meat will begin to grow, making it unfit for human consumption. Regardless of the type of meat, the two-hour rule should be followed when allowing it to sit at room temperature.
What about meat that has been vacuum-sealed and kept at room temperature? Raw meat that has been vacuum-sealed can be kept at room temperature for up to 15 days. However, whether vacuum-packed or not, the USDA does not recommend storing meats and poultry at room temperature. Cooked meat and meat dishes are also subject to the two-hour rule. If cooked meat has been out in the open for more than two hours. Don’t eat it or put it back in the fridge; instead, throw it away.


Vacuum-sealed meat should have a bright red exterior and a brownish interior. Furthermore, the meat must withstand temperatures of up to twelve degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also worth remembering that meat stored above the load level may not be as fresh as it should be. Bacteria will grow on the meat if stored above the load level.

Meat can be costly and difficult to prepare, so vacuum-sealing makes it easier to prepare while also extending its shelf life. While vacuum-sealing your meat will extend its shelf life, it will not last indefinitely, and you should put safety first. You can’t take any chances with your health, so find out if vacuum-sealed meat is bad before eating it.