Sausages are a popular breakfast food that many people like to eat on their own or with eggs and toast. Breakfast sausages often come in links that can be cooked in a skillet or baked in the oven. They may also come in patties, which are ideal for cooking on the stovetop or grilling. Gourmet brands of breakfast sausages can be quite expensive, as much as $10 or more for a package of eight sausages.
These expensive sausages are often made with high-quality ingredients and better cuts of meat. However, if you like to save money by purchasing less expensive brands of breakfast sausage, you may wonder how long they will remain safe to eat after opening. To help you determine the answer, we spoke with the food experts at Tyson Foods for advice on how to tell if your sausage is bad.
An enticing ground breakfast sausage served off the grill will have every meat lover’s mouth watering! Do you still want the cooked breakfast sausage from the day before, or are you wondering if the sausages you bought a few months ago are still good? Continue reading if you fit the description.
Pay attention to the color, smell, texture, and expiration date of ground breakfast sausage to determine if it is bad. Ground breakfast sausage that has gone bad has a grayish-brown appearance, a putrid stench, and a slimy texture. As an additional guideline, use “best before” dates.
Breakfast sausages are delectable (if fresh). So, to avoid accidently biting into bad breakfast sausage, we’re going to show you how to detect whether breakfast sausage has gone foul. Continue reading for the full description.
How to Tell If Your Ground Breakfast Sausage Is Bad
It is possible to become ill if you consume spoiled or undercooked ground breakfast sausage. To avoid becoming ill, it is critical that you store, handle, and prepare the morning sausage as carefully as possible.
Fortunately, there are several telltale symptoms that ground breakfast sausage has gone bad. First and foremost, pay great attention to the color, smell, texture, and expiration date of the ground breakfast sausage.
Look at the Package
If you have an opened package of breakfast sausage, you can check the use-by date on the package. Sausage that is past its prime will usually have a use-by date that is less than 14 days away. Once the package has been opened, however, it must be refrigerated, so it is no longer fresh and must be used within three to five days.
If you open the package and find that your breakfast sausage looks slimy or slimy liquid appears to be collecting on the packaging, throw it away. You should also discard the sausage if it has a sour smell or if mold appears on the meat itself or on the packaging.
Another sign that your breakfast sausage has gone bad is if the meat turns an odd color, such as grayish-black. This can be caused by nitrates that were used in the curing process. While this doesn’t mean the sausage is unsafe to eat, you may not like how it looks once cooked, so you may want to discard it rather than serve it to others.
Check Expiration Date
If the sausage is vacuum-sealed, it may include an expiration date on the package. You can check this date to see how long the sausage will be safe to eat. If the sausage is in a tray, there may also be a “use by” date or a code that indicates when the product was produced.
You should also check the packaging to see if it has been opened or resealed, as this can affect how long it remains safe to eat. If you purchase uncooked breakfast sausages and they are not vacuum-sealed, you should use them within three to five days. The sausages will only remain safe for a few days once they have been cooked because bacteria can grow on them and make you sick.
If you store your breakfast sausages properly in the refrigerator, they should remain safe to eat for three to four weeks after opening. You’ll know if your sausages have gone bad because they will have an unpleasant odor. They may also contain mold or look discolored.
Smell the Package
If you have sausages that are still sealed in their packages, the first thing you should do is give them a sniff before you take them home from the store. “Sausages are prone to growing bacteria as they age,” said Tyson’s Chef and Culinary Expert, Nick Ohanjanian. “So if a package smells funny or out of the ordinary, don’t buy it.”
This tip is especially important if you buy your sausages at a budget grocery store or outlet store where they may be less expensive but frequently sit on the shelves longer. If you purchase these sausages, it’s best to use them quickly and do not attempt to freeze them.
However, if your sausages come in vacuum-sealed packages, don’t worry too much about the smell. “Vacuum-sealed packages are good to go,” said Ohanjanian. “Because of their packaging, there is minimal airflow so bacteria growth is slowed down.”
Check for Signs of Mold
Most breakfast sausages come in patties, so you don’t have to worry about links or casings. Patties can be cooked right in their own wrapper, making it easy to see if mold is growing on the surface.
“If the sausage patty is being stored in the refrigerator, check to make sure that no mold has grown on the patty,” said Tyson Fresh Meats Research Chef Jonathan Provenza. “If there is mold, discard the patty and do not consume. If you are freezing or thawing out a patty, check for any discoloration on the patty before consuming.”
Luckily, it’s easy to spot mold growing on a patty because it can’t hide inside the casing or link like it can inside a link. If you see any signs of mold, discard the patty immediately and don’t take a chance on eating it.
Check the Color and Texture
When you open a package of breakfast sausages, you will want to check the color and texture to determine if the sausages are safe to eat. Fresh, high-quality sausages will have even, light brown color throughout and a texture that is firm and springy. Over time, the color may darken slightly due to the natural curing process, but it shouldn’t turn gray or become discolored in any way. If your sausage patty suddenly looks much darker than it did when you first opened the package, this may be a sign that your sausage is bad.
If you like to prepare your breakfast sausages on a skillet, you’ll also want to make sure they are fully cooked before eating them. This will help ensure they are safe to eat and won’t cause any foodborne illnesses. You may notice that uncooked sausages have pink or red juices running through them. However, if you cook them past this pink stage, they may become overly dry and less flavorful.
Listen for Gassy Bubbles
Most types of breakfast sausages are encased in a layer of either pork casing or artificial cellulose casing. This casing prevents the meat from leaking out and helps the sausage retain its shape and texture when cooked. The casing is also porous enough to allow moisture to escape, which prevents the sausage from becoming too juicy.
However, if your sausage is encased in natural pork casings, it will begin to form air pockets as it ages and these air pockets will cause the sausage to become gassy. You can test your sausage by holding it up to your ear and listening for air bubbles. If you hear popping sounds like you would hear from a can of beer or soda that’s been opened, the sausage may be going bad.
To prevent this from happening, it’s best to cook your sausage right away after opening the package. You can also transfer any unopened packages of uncooked sausage to freezer bags and freeze them for up to three months. If you’re not going to use them within three months, Thiele recommends using them within two weeks after opening the package.
How Long Will Ground Breakfast Sausage Last?
Fresh ground breakfast sausage is one of the most perishable sausage meats and is usually purchased uncooked. However, depending on how you store it, ground breakfast sausage can last anywhere from a few days to several months.
If you buy ground breakfast sausage from the supermarket, try to stick to the “best before” date. It specifies the latest recommended date for the sausage meat to be at its best.
If you intend to freeze the ground breakfast sausage, however, you do not need to adhere to the “best before” instructions.
If you store raw ground breakfast sausage in a refrigerator at 40°F or less, it will last only a day or two (ask.usda.gov).
If you store raw ground breakfast sausage below 0°F without interrupting the cold-chain cycle, the meat will be safe to eat permanently.
Nonetheless, it is preferable to eat the product within two to three months of purchase. Due to freezer burn, the quality and taste of the ground breakfast sausage will deteriorate after that.
Furthermore, heating the ground breakfast sausage before refrigerating or freezing it often extends its shelf life.
Ground breakfast sausage that has been properly cooked will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator and up to four months in the freezer.
If you prefer to buy pre-cooked ground breakfast sausage, the sausage is normally excellent for up to a week unless the box states otherwise.
How to Manage the Life of Ground Breakfast Sausage in the Fridge
It is critical to handle and store ground breakfast sausage correctly in order to avoid damaged sausage meat and food illness.
It is important to note that supermarket shelf-life requirements assume that the product is handled properly from start to finish via cold-chain management.
It’s best to add your meat (sausage) to your basket shortly before paying for your items. Alternatively, bring an insulated bag or picnic cooler to keep the ground breakfast sausages cold and fresh until you can put them in the refrigerator or freezer at home.
To prevent bacteria from spreading, store your raw ground breakfast sausage in a container or box with no holes, and keep the raw meat separate.
Refrigerate or freeze your ground breakfast sausage as soon as you get home, or within two hours after purchasing.
Another useful technique for maintaining and extending the life of ground breakfast sausage in the fridge is to keep your fridge clean and maintain the optimum refrigerator or freezer temperatures.
A spotless refrigerator that keeps a steady temperature will help to keep hazardous microorganisms at bay.
Furthermore, if you’re making fresh ground breakfast sausage, make sure to cook it all the way to a food-safe temperature of 160°F. Following the food-safe temperature standard will ensure that the majority of the hazardous bacteria die, lowering the risk of food poisoning.
As a result, it is best to avoid eating raw or slightly deteriorated ground breakfast sausage.
When storing cooked ground breakfast sausage in the refrigerator, try to keep it in an airtight container separate from other raw meat items.
Mark your packed sausages to avoid eating spoiled ground breakfast sausage, and throw the products as soon as they become greyish-brown and slimy, smell rancid, taste off, or are over their expiration date.
Finally, if you want to utilize your frozen ground breakfast sausage, thaw it in the refrigerator to keep the meat cool during defrosting. It is important to note that you should never leave the ground breakfast sausage at room temperature for more than two hours (perfect climate for harmful bacteria growth).
Is Reheating Ground Breakfast Sausage Safe?
You can reheat ground breakfast sausage after cooking it in the microwave or on the stovetop, but only if the ground breakfast sausage was stored in the refrigerator prior to two hours of room temperature exposure.
Bacteria grow quickly at temperatures ranging from 40°F to 140°F.
So, if you forgot the meat on the counter the night before, warming it in the microwave or on the stove does not make it safe to consume. Various bacteria, such as staphylococcus aureus, may produce a heat-resistant toxin that reheating will not prevent you from swallowing.
What Happens If You Consume Poor Quality Ground Breakfast Sausage?
The consequences of consuming ruined ground breakfast sausage vary depending on the level of dangerous bacterial growth on the ground breakfast sausage.
Spoiled ground breakfast sausage is unsafe to eat because it may contain pathogenic bacteria that cause food poisoning.
Pseudomonas spp., Lactobacillus spp., Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus are among the pathogenic bacteria that cause food poisoning.
Foods (including ground breakfast sausage) left on the counter at room temperature for more than two hours rapidly proliferate the dangerous bacteria.
If the ground breakfast sausage has only partially spoiled, you may only have mild symptoms such as an unsettled stomach. However, eating extremely rotting ground breakfast sausage puts you at risk of getting food poisoning.
Depending on the severity of the food pathogens, consuming damaged ground breakfast sausage can cause symptoms such as abdominal pains, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. It’s worth noting that symptoms usually take a day or two to appear.
While many occurrences of dangerous bacteria growing on meat only result in minor food poisoning, in severe ones, it can be fatal. As a result, use proper storage methods and discard any ground breakfast sausage that seems to be stale.
In conclusion, there are many easy ways to tell if ground breakfast sausage is bad. You can tell by the smell, appearance, color, and texture of the sausage. If it smells sour, has visible mold, has an off-color or has a slimy texture, then it has gone bad and should not be eaten. Checking for these signs before you buy and eat your breakfast sausage will ensure that you stay safe and healthy. The best way to ensure your food is fresh is to shop for it at a reputable store and always inspect it for any signs of spoilage before you cook it.