Is It Safe To Eat Ground Beef That Looks Gray?

I can definitely recall at least a few occasions when I’ve bought ground beef from the grocery store only to get it home, pull it out to cook, and notice it looks a little gray. This has always been cause for concern as we’re used to seeing fresh ground beef appear more of a bright red color. However, ground beef that looks gray isn’t always cause for concern. Read ahead to learn more before you throw that next package of ground beef in the garbage.

source: The Spruce Eats via Rob Melnychuk/Photodisc/Getty Images

If you notice your package of ground beef looks gray in the middle, there’s likely no need to throw it out. Meat contains something called oxymyoglobin which when exposed to oxygen, produces that bright red color we’re used to seeing with ground beef. When a package of ground beef looks gray in color in the middle, it likely just means it hasn’t yet been exposed to oxygen.

source: Canada Beef

However, if the outside of your ground beef appears gray or brown, or the majority of the meat looks to be that color, it’s better to be safe than sorry and toss that package in the garbage. Something else worth noting is that if the meat smells funky or off in any way, it’s likely gone bad and needs to be thrown out.

source: Shaken Together

It’s always wise to be vigilant about the quality and freshness of any meat you purchase. Hopefully these simple tips will help you to determine when your ground beef is safe, and when it should definitely be tossed.