Do not attempt to buy and stock up on deli meat because you don't want to regularly visit the grocery store. If you've ever considered buying a lot of it, the question on your mind would probably be, can it go bad? How long can it last? Where would I store it? Can I consume it after its sell-by-date or expiration date? Well, all the answers are here.
How long can it last
There are wide varieties of deli meat. The same type of deli meat made by different food companies has different shelf-life. Hence, I'd be discussing in general. However, the packages usually come with a sell-by-date, but it could last a few days longer after then it goes bad.
- Sliced (opened): There are different types of sliced deli meat with raging shelf life. The shelf life of the sliced (opened) deli meat ranges from 3 days to up to 3 months if opened and past its printed date
- Sliced (Unopened): This also ranges from 3 weeks to 4 months past its printed date.
- Unsliced (opened): The unsliced opened deli meat could last for 4 to 6 days. Endeavor you store in the fridge and adequately wrapped.
- Unsliced (unopened): It could last a few days after crossing its best-by-date or sell-by-date. You just wrapped it and stored it in a cool place (fridge).
How to prolong the shelf-life of deli meat
If you want to increase the deli meat's shelf-life, you must first understand that it needs to be frozen. If it's opened, you should seal it off in an air-tight container and store it in the fridge if you'd be eating it in the next 3-5 days.
However, if it's unopened, you should seal it off and store it in the freezer since you won't be using it anytime soon. Irrespective of whether it's opened or unopened, make sure you wrap it, then store it in the fridge/freezer to keep its quality and taste fresh.
How to tell if deli meat go bad
Although it isn't a perfect test, your senses are one way to detect if something is bad or safe to eat. Here are some ways to tell if your meat is bad
- Look: You need to study the meat's appearance appropriately. You look out for the color change and the dates. If the color has changed from the initial appearance to mold, such as a grayish or brownish coloration, it's probably spoilt. Once it passes the expiration date, it isn't safe for consumption.
- Smell: Once you perceive a sour or stale smell oozing from your meat, you should discard it as soon as possible. It isn't good and shouldn't be consumed.
- Touch: Once you touch the meat and the surface feels sticky or slimy due to brine coming out of the meat or bacteria or yeast development, you should dispose of it immediately.
What happens if you eat spoilt deli meat
Eating spoiled deli meat would cause food poisoning. The reason for this is because the spoilt meat became suitable for the growth and development of bacteria. You may experience symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach upsets.
These symptoms result from your body trying to get rid of the spoilt food from your system. You should feel better after a couple of days or two once the spoilt meat is out of your system.
Differences between the sell-by date, use-by date, and the best-by date
There have been different misconceptions among these three terms. Manufacturers use them on packages (like in deli meat) from grocery stores.
- The sell-by date: The product manufacturer uses it to address retailers and grocery owners of when the product should be off their shelves. It, however, doesn't mean you can't consume the good. There's still enough time to consume the grocery after the sell-by date.
- Use-by date: It's used for quality purposes, to prevent the quality of the product. It tells you the day by which you should consume the product.
- Best-by date: Most time, we confuse the best-by date with the expiration date. The best-by date gives a time frame for which the product will last before expiring. The best-by date is never the same as the expiration date. Products after passing their best-by date could still be consumed provided it still tastes and smell nice.