How To Tell If Turkey Is Bad

Like so many foods, turkey meat is usually best served when it’s still fresh. Often, we save up some because we cannot consume it all up at the moment, or we keep it for the next day’s meal.

Yet, in trying our best not to waste food, we should not risk getting ill or consuming food the has gone bad.

Most people like to ground their meats in preparation for patties for burgers or meatloaves. When this happens, it is usually challenging to tell when the meat has gone bad, whether beef, pork, or poultry.

It is usually challenging to keep checking for expiration dates on canned grounded meat and difficult to tell meat has gone bad, especially when you put them in a refrigerator and gain the illusion that it can never go bad.

It is always best to make your assessments of your meat products. A turkey is usually an essential aspect of American dinner tables, especially on celebratory events like Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Wedding dinners.

Imagine a situation where everyone exchanges awkward knowing looks when they dig into their turkeys—gone bad, right?

smoked turkey

This article will try to list out a couple of things that you can do to know fully well if your ground turkey has gone bad or not.

Before that, ground turkey or minced turkey is usually a mixture of dark or light turkey meat with remaining skin processed until the whole turkey is ground. This usually precedes the removal of bones and other unwanted parts of the turkey.

The final product of this process usually looks enticing to people who visit grocery shops and malls.

Ground poultry such as chicken and turkey always have a very light color when they are freshly grounded. However, they have to be consumed very fresh because they cannot overstay even if they are stored in the fridge.

Turkey is the most difficult to observe if it is fresh; it can go bad and still won’t turn brown. It is always good to know the colors that ground turkey has when it is still fresh.

It usually has a light pink coloration with a fresh oily smell. Just like raw beef, the ground turkey might get a bit brown as time goes, but it is so slight that no one notices. The color can tell you if the turkey is still good.

It is always important to pay attention to the smell and feel of your ground turkey. A quick sniff for an odd smell or a feel for slimy residue is very necessary.  You can tell when the ground turkey is bad if, after sniffing it, you discover a foul smell; another trick is to feel the texture.

There are three major methods in this article we will show you to discover if your ground turkey has gone bad.

1. Smell the ground turkey

Oh yes. Smell the turkey, do not be grossed out by the idea. Smelling the turkey is quite the right and best way to tell if the ground turkey has gone bad.

The trick lies in the smell, you are not looking for a particular type of smell, but I bet you can tell when something smells awful. Poultry can carry a lot of bacteria, especially salmonella, and E. coli.

When these bacteria are present and are consumed, they can lead to severe diarrhea, food poisoning, and eventual death. The best course of action to take when you realize that your ground turkey has a foul smell is to throw it away. Better safe than never.

2. Feel the ground meat

You may actually want to put your hands in there and feel the ground turkey. This method helps you check if the meat is slimy or sticky. Sometimes the meat begins to form clumps that are not supposed to be there in the first place.

When all these are present, there is a huge chance that your turkey has gone bad, and you need to toss it as soon as you can. There is no reason at all even to consider cooking it. A lot of people say that heating and cooking foods at very high temperatures can reverse spoiling effects. That is a fact that is not true and can lead to harmful circumstances.

3. The look of the ground turkey

This part is the hardest because sometimes, there is more to it than meets the eye. Like I earlier stated, sometimes poultry meat, especially turkey, doesn’t start changing color immediately; they start getting bad, you can be misled into thinking that all is good and well.

One nice trick is to remember how the meat looked like when you bought it.

If you went to a grocery store and bought meat that looked like lilac or fresh pink and has now changed into a darker shade of the original colors, added to the first two signs, then it is a warning flag.

That ground meat has to go into the bin. When it shows a grey color, it shouldn’t spend a minute more in the kitchen.


If you are not sure how to tell if your ground turkey is bad, give it a good smell. If it has a more than normal meat smell that is pungent or strong at some point of inspection, the meat has probably stayed for too long and has become spoiled.

Throw it away as soon as possible. If you are still not sure that the meat is bad, try perusing the meat’s surface with your bare hands, spoiled meat will feel slimy and sticky.

Many people don’t realize that their ground turkey meat had gone bad before they eat it. When situations like this happen, the only way you can tell is if you fall sick almost immediately. The symptoms usually range from vomiting to stomach aches and diarrhea.

Suppose you notice just one out of the three signs that have been mentioned and still want to go ahead anyway; ensure that you cook your ground turkey to high temperatures of about 150 degrees or more to ensure that the bacteria are adequately killed.

Even then, some bacteria leave behind their toxins that can withstand heat. So, it’s better to discard than even consider eating at all.

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