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  #1  
Old 07-12-2004, 11:13 AM
Chairman Pow Chairman Pow is offline
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How long are cold cuts good for?

I've got some turkey that smells more or less OK atlhough it's pretty slimy. The date on the package said, "sell by 7/7/04." We got it from the deli counter.

Had some a couple days ago and it was OK, although a bit slimy. Normally, I wouldn't think anything of eating this except that I no longer have health insurance and this is the time of year that I usually undergo a massive health crisis. Considering that I've got one planned for later today, I'd rather not have this be the thing to do me in.

Please help, am hungry.
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  #2  
Old 07-12-2004, 11:26 AM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chairman Pow
I've got some turkey that smells more or less OK atlhough it's pretty slimy. The date on the package said, "sell by 7/7/04." We got it from the deli counter.
TMI warning ...





My own personal experience is that I personally can eat such fare with little to no trouble, except perhaps a single round of diarrhea within 3 hours (and more often, not even that).

I know that the slime on such meats are only the liquid content of the meat being leeched out by added sodium. Instead of condensing on the plastic package, say, the liquid tends to stick to the surface of the meat. In essence, the meat is drying out, but the liquid isn't going any further away than the surface of the meat. Naturally, if you left the meat uncovered, the water content of said liquid would evaporate, and you'd eventually be left with rancid turkey jerky.

......

BTW, I don't know about your deli counter, but ours puts the sell-by date as the day you buy the meat. So if I had a pack of deli cold cuts in the fridge with a sell-by of "July 7", that would mean it was five days old -- totally fair game. I've eaten deli-sliced cold cuts that were around a month old with little to no problems.
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  #3  
Old 07-12-2004, 11:27 AM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chairman Pow
I've got some turkey that smells more or less OK atlhough it's pretty slimy. The date on the package said, "sell by 7/7/04." We got it from the deli counter.

Had some a couple days ago and it was OK, although a bit slimy. Normally, I wouldn't think anything of eating this except that I no longer have health insurance and this is the time of year that I usually undergo a massive health crisis. Considering that I've got one planned for later today, I'd rather not have this be the thing to do me in.

Please help, am hungry.
It depends.

The slime is the result of bacterial growth, but that doesn't necessarily mean it would make you sick.

Smell is no indicator of whether it would make you sick. Decay of the meat smells pretty bad but you can have serious toxins from bacterial growth with no particular smell.

I keep cold cuts around for 1-2 weeks at about 38 F. but most people would probably say that's really pushing it.

When in doubt, throw it out. Here's one government site, there are others if you search.
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  #4  
Old 07-12-2004, 11:30 AM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Here's one government site, there are others if you search. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/help/FAQs_F...fety/index.asp
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  #5  
Old 07-12-2004, 11:35 AM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas
The slime is the result of bacterial growth, but that doesn't necessarily mean it would make you sick.
More TMI ...






Really? I know some bacteria grows in the fridge on just about everything, but I didn't think it was enough to accumulate as a slimy mass?

Have you ever heard about marinating a raw Thanksgiving turkey in an ice chest full of salt water, so that water is drawn into the bird? Isn't the slime on cold cuts the same thing in reverse -- the salt is already in the meat, and water is being drawn out?
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  #6  
Old 07-12-2004, 11:43 AM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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OK, from the USDA site above:

Quote:
How do bacteria spoil food?
There are different spoilage bacteria (see question below) and each reproduces at specific temperatures. Some can grow at the low temperatures in the refrigerator or freezer. Others grow well at room temperature and in the "Danger Zone." Bacteria will grow anywhere they have access to nutrients and water. (my emphasis) Under the correct conditions, spoilage bacteria reproduce rapidly and the populations can grow very large. In some cases, they can double their numbers in as little as 30 minutes. The large number of microorganisms and their waste products cause the objectionable changes in odor, taste, and texture.
OK, so does water leeching out of the meat necessarily help bacteria flourish more than it already would naturally? Does it matter to bacteria whether or not water is suspended in the meat or is leeched out onto the meat's surface?

At the moment, I'm inclined to believe that slime on five-day old turkey almost exclusively water-based liquid, with very little in the way of bacteria. Heck, turkey is kinda slimey right off the bat anyway. Obviously, though, any bacteria present will continue to grow. I'd love to see more detailed info.

FWIW, I keep my fridge a little cooler than most ... milk freezes on the top shelf of my icebox. Maybe that makes a difference.
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  #7  
Old 07-12-2004, 11:43 AM
brane damaj brane damaj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chairman Pow
I've got some turkey that smells more or less OK atlhough it's pretty slimy. The date on the package said, "sell by 7/7/04." We got it from the deli counter.

Had some a couple days ago and it was OK, although a bit slimy. Normally, I wouldn't think anything of eating this except that I no longer have health insurance and this is the time of year that I usually undergo a massive health crisis. Considering that I've got one planned for later today, I'd rather not have this be the thing to do me in.

Please help, am hungry.
I know your pain, my man. I've been there myself.

I cannot say what the slime is. It seems more likely to me that it's moisture congealing on the surface of the cuts than a bacterail biofilm, but whatever.

The bottom line is that unless it somehow got infected with salmonella or E. coli at the deli or since you brought it home, it won't hurt you. It may taste nasty, but you'll be fine, unless it got colonized by the above nasties, in which case you'd be screwed even if you ate it when it was still fresh.
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  #8  
Old 07-12-2004, 11:47 AM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas
The slime is the result of bacterial growth, but that doesn't necessarily mean it would make you sick.
Even if the slime were 100% pure bacteria, perhaps boiling the turkey sliced would make them safe to eat?
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  #9  
Old 07-12-2004, 12:12 PM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is online now
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Any food with an expiration date: The date means it's good through that date UNOPENED. As soon as you open it, you better finish it within a couple of days.

This is truer for ham and turkey than it is for, say, salami (which is loaded with preservatives and can last a week or more). And it depends on the salami. Hard salami (my favorite) lasts loner than Cotto or Lebanon salami.

Not sure about bologna. Probably lasts about as long as the Cotto.

I'm afraid to eat head cheese.
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  #10  
Old 07-12-2004, 12:31 PM
brane damaj brane damaj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krokodil
I'm afraid to eat head cheese.
Hey! Don't knock head cheese! What can be more wholeomse than pig snout and heart pressed into a gelatin? It's almost as good as scrapple and haggis!
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  #11  
Old 07-12-2004, 02:57 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas
Smell is no indicator of whether it would make you sick. Decay of the meat smells pretty bad but you can have serious toxins from bacterial growth with no particular smell.
This is worth repeating, and refreshing to see it said - most threads like this have a 'well, if it smells OK...' post sonner rather than later.

Food poisoning is caused by pathogenic bacteria, and the toxins they produce. Not all of these bacteria will make the food smell bad, even if they are present to very dangerous levels.

Spoiled food is caused by a set of bacteria that overlaps somewhat with the above, but includes some that make things really stinky, but still relatively harmelss. Enzymes also play a key role in food degeneration.

Not all of these different agencies respond in exactly the same way to any given set of conditions, so it is possible for the pathogenic bacteria to get really busy, while the degenrative processes are still unnoticeable (and vice versa).

So again. Absence of a bad smell is not a reliable indicator of safe food.
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  #12  
Old 07-12-2004, 07:02 PM
Cillasi Cillasi is offline
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Once coldcuts go slimy, I throw them out. Although unsliced coldcuts can last a good long while, once they are sliced, it's all over. Every surface of every slice accumulates bacteria. If the turkey was pre-sliced when you bought it, I'd definitely throw it out. If it was sliced when you ordered it, well, turkey ain't supposed to be slimy! Throw it out.
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  #13  
Old 07-12-2004, 07:15 PM
Leaper Leaper is offline
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Boy, if all this is true, then food producers really have a great scam going on. I mean, how can the average person use up, say, 24 slices of ham in just two weeks? I sure couldn't! What a way to get people to throw away food and buy some more every half a month!

Sure, it wastes food, but what do they care, as long as they make more money?
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  #14  
Old 07-12-2004, 07:42 PM
Chairman Pow Chairman Pow is offline
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Advice taken, turkey gone.

Thanks all.
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  #15  
Old 07-12-2004, 08:30 PM
Troy McClure SF Troy McClure SF is offline
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Remember, if you buy meat from the deli case at the supermarket, the scale puts an expiration date five (or whatever) days in advance.

But that doesn't account for how long the meat was sitting open (though unsliced) in the deli case. If it's something like smoked turkey, black forest ham, or roast beef, chances are it was opened the day you bought it or the day before. If it's something like headcheese, cooto salame, or turkey pastrami, it may have been sitting there a while.
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  #16  
Old 07-12-2004, 10:36 PM
Burnt Sugar Burnt Sugar is offline
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On the miniguide to bacon I was reading in the supermarket the other day, it said bacon will keep in the fridge for three days.
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  #17  
Old 07-12-2004, 10:57 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bordelond
At the moment, I'm inclined to believe that slime on five-day old turkey almost exclusively water-based liquid, with very little in the way of bacteria.
If you search on "meat slime" you will get references to the fact that bacteria causes the slime (the slime is not the bacteria itself but its products). The slime is not simply water leaching out. If that were the case, it wouldn't be slimey!

Quote:
Even if the slime were 100% pure bacteria, perhaps boiling the turkey sliced would make them safe to eat?
It's not eating the bacteria that makes you sick. It's eating the toxins they produce. If you left your chili out overnight, and bad bacteria grew like crazy, then you boiled the hell out of it and killed all the bacteria, you could still get sick if the toxins survived the heating.
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  #18  
Old 07-13-2004, 12:50 AM
bughunter bughunter is offline
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Not to mention farts that would alarm the Homeland Security people.

As for the turkey, I just ate a turkey bacon and provolone sandwich, and all those ingredients were bought ten days ago, with the turkey sliced at a deli counter and wrapped in butcher paper. The bacon was fried last Sunday, and the provolone has been in the fridge three weeks.

It tasted fine. If I have any problems, I'll post and let you know.

But now that I mention it, the anal vapors are starting to alarm the cat.
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  #19  
Old 07-13-2004, 02:58 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas
It's not eating the bacteria that makes you sick. It's eating the toxins they produce.
Actually, it can be either; some bacteria cause toxic food poisoning, others cause infectious food poisoning - i.e. they set up shop in your digestive system - although the actual symptoms may still be largely due to toxins in this case, they are produced inside your body, after ingestion.
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