is this okay to eat?
Updated: Nov 14, 2020
Picture 13-year old me at 3 am, starving. Creeping downstairs in the pitch black because any lights turning on would wake my mum. I knew a pack of hot cross buns lay innocently on the counter so I grabbed one and took a huge bite. It tasted weird, like soil. The taste got worse as I chewed. I turned on the kitchen light to find I was holding a ball of mould. It was 10% hot cross bun, 90% gross stuff. It took 6 years to finally eat one again.
Sometimes it's hard to tell whether the food in your fridge or cupboard has gone off, to a point where it is unsafe to eat. Or you're making dinner and you're not sure whether it's completely cooked. Use the guide below if you are unsure to save yourself from my horror.
Raw? cooked chicken will turn white all the way through. If you're cutting into it and there are bits of pink or there are still slimy sections then you will need to cook it for longer. Make sure you cut through the middle of a chicken breast before eating to check.
Gone off? you should go by the expiry date on the pack of your chicken however sometimes chicken can go off before this date. Always make sure you smell the raw chicken, if there is a sweetly sour smell then the chicken is most likely gone off. If the chicken looks slightly yellow or has lost some of its pink colour then this is also a sign the chicken has gone bad. Don't try to cook with this chicken as it may cause food poisoning.
If you have defrosted your chicken - ideally by leaving it in the fridge for 24 hours prior to cooking - then it will be safe in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Raw? As with chicken, the change in colour will indicate it is cooked, this time to a brown. If there are still bits of bright pink then these sections are still raw. A lighter pink in the meat will mean it's medium or medium rare which can be eaten. Another test is to press the meat and see if the juices run clear, if they are still bloody then the beef may need further cooking.
Gone off? The beef may turn brown in the fridge and/or have a sweet, sickly smell as well as a slimy texture.
Raw? To refrain from repetition: bright pink and slimy=raw lighter pink and firm=cooked
Gone off? Similar to beef, gone off pork will be slightly grey and emit a smell similar to ammonia (to all those who have experience with at-home hair dye).
Other meats follow similar rules, if you're unsure then it's better to not risk it.
As with non-meat items, mould will be a big signifier that it's gone off. Any discolouration, fluff or grey lumps mean you might want to eat something else.