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Does beef jerky go bad? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know!
Beef jerky is a very tasty treat. Doesn’t matter if it is homemade beef jerky, store-bought jerky or other commercial jerky, we all love the taste!
The thing is, beef jerky can typically be found in jars, and you wonder how long it has been left there. Is it worth buying it and trying it? Is it possible that beef jerky can go bad?
It’s always a good idea to pay attention to food and drink’s shelf life and beef jerky is no exception.
So, in this helpful guide – we’re going to explore all the ins and outs of beef jerky and find out if it’s at all possible for it to go bad.
If you’re hungry for information – read on for more!
So, Does Beef Jerky Go Bad?
If we’re talking about commercial jerky, assuming that it has been properly stored, properly cooked, dehydrated correctly, and then packaged right – it will not go bad at all, as long as it’s unopened jerky.
But whether it goes bad is not really the problem with long-term commercial beef jerky. The issue is the taste and consistency of the lean meat. Typically, over time it will lose its flavor and texture which makes it better to consume more quickly.
If you’re looking for a rule of thumb, it’s recommended that you eat your jerky within 12 months of purchase which is normally well past the best-before-date.
Jerky is high in protein and a very healthy, nutritious snack choice among the ones on offer, but even though most jerky will not spoil past its best-by date, it does not mean that there have not been errors in the packaging, drying process, or other processes before it meets your mouth.
Nobody wants to eat spoiled beef jerky, and much like any other food, spoiled jerky can cause some issues like food poisoning.
However, it differentiates from other perishable food as the periods of time it can survive are generally longer.
For more frequently asked questions, visit our index of food-related questions and answers. Here are a few suggestions for you:
How Would I Know My Beef Jerky Is Okay To Eat?
There are some great sure-fire ways to be safe when it comes to eating jerky and other food products for that matter. Nobody wants to eat spoiled food or rotten meat, so to be safe out there – try to consider following these steps:
The Best By Date – It’s Best To Check
Jerky that has been made in the US will have a clear best-by label on the back of the jerky packages. If it is unclear or has been ruined somehow, it’s best to avoid it entirely, even if it is in an unopened package.
Assess The Packaging
One of the best and smartest things to do with your food is to inspect it. You would always assess if you’ve picked up bad meat or spoiled meat, so why would you take the chance with jerky?
If you’ve seen holes, tears, and rips in the packaging – there’s a real chance that the food is in danger of the growth of bacteria. Harmful bacteria could be multiplying on the jerky and this can give you a type of food poisoning that you really want to steer clear of!
Inspect The Meat
It’s all well and good-looking at the packaging, but if the jerky itself has gone bad, you wouldn’t know until you’ve opened the package.
Take a look at it. If there is a usual color or texture to it, put it down and stay away from it. If it smells strange or just doesn’t meet your expectations, don’t gamble with it. Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling bad food.
Speak With Someone
If you’re still unsure, or you notice no obvious signs of things like mold, but you still have concerns, it’s best to speak with someone who knows about this kind of thing. If you’re lucky enough to know a food expert, great!
If not, it’s a good idea to call the helpline which is usually on the packaging somewhere. If it isn’t, you can use a search engine to find their details. Remember, always be sure when it comes to your food!
What Makes Jerky Last So Long Anyway?
When the moisture has been removed, jerky can remain on the shelf and does not need to be inside a refrigerator. Additionally, as it is packed in an airtight packaging – the vacuum pack gives it that extra lease of life and removes the likelihood of expiration.
Can I Extend My Jerky’s Life?
If you want to ensure a long life for your jerky, you could follow the next steps and be safe with your food!
Keep The Right Temperature
Jerky is a kind of snack that loves to stay at an ambient temperature – in other words, a place that isn’t too cold or too hot.
If you want an idea of where to store it away from direct sunlight but also away from very cold areas, you should choose your pantry. Ensure no animals can get in there though!
Keep It Original
Jerky is packaged in a very specific way, so don’t take it out of the package and repackage it yourself because it is unlikely to work. It needs to be free of oxygen and moisture and therefore keeping it in the original packaging is the best idea.
Source It Correctly
If you buy your jerky from the right places, you’ll be sure you’re getting the best that will have been handled correctly, and therefore the likelihood of expiration is low. If you want the best, you’ve got to buy the best – and this will be found in trusted stores or butcher shops.
The Bottom Line
Beef jerky should not go bad if it is in the original packaging and has not been compromised. If it has been compromised or handled incorrectly – you’re better off avoiding it, as there is a chance it can go bad.