Sausage is one of the most popular foods that you can find in stores and markets around the world. It can be cooked, fried, grilled, or mixed and used in various recipes.
What’s more interesting is that you can buy it fresh, keep it in the fridge, and cook it later, or you can buy it cooked and only have to reheat it as part of a meal. Sausage can be a time-saver!
Depending on your preference, sausage is made from several meats such as pork, beef, and chicken. Other ingredients are also added to enhance its flavor. Such ingredients may include salt, fat, spices, breadcrumbs, grains, and other seasonings.
Preservatives are also included to retain texture and increase shelf-life. However, this doesn’t mean that sausage can last for a lifetime.
But how can we tell if sausage is bad?
The easiest way to know whether sausage has spoiled is to look for any signs of changes in its texture, odor, and color.
One of the biggest signs of spoiled sausage is an unpleasant odor. If it smells unusual, you have no reason to keep the sausage.
Depending on the type of sausage, you can easily spot whether it’s still good or bad. However, you will sometimes need to take a more careful look to know its condition.
How Do You Know if a Sausage Is Spoiled?
A spoiled sausage won’t look as good as the one you just bought. It is easier to tell whether a sausage is spoiled by doing a close and thorough check.
Like most food products, a spoiled sausage will produce a rancid or rotten-like odor when you smell it. This smell comes from the growth of mold and bacteria that has taken place inside the sausage.
You can also look for any changes in its color. A good sausage usually comes in pink or light red, the same color that you can find on raw meats. If there’s a growth of mold in and around it, the sausage will have grayish or greenish spots on it.
A spoiled sausage also doesn’t look as tasty and good as the fresh one. If the sausage looks slimy and watery, it is time to discard it.
You can compare how firm and squishy a good sausage is with one that is spoiled. However, this method only applies to raw sausages that are not completely frozen or covered with ice.
Unless the sausage itself comes with ingredients or spices that taste sour, you should always avoid eating a spoiled sausage, even if it’s just a small bite.
How Long Does Sausage Last in the Fridge?
When buying sausages, we do our best to keep them fresh and good for as long as we can. However, it all depends on the type of sausages and where you store them.
But for cooked sausages, you can keep them in the fridge for up to one week.
On the other hand, you can maximize the shelf life of sausages by keeping them in the freezer. If they are still fully wrapped, then they would last longer.
But once you defrost and decide to open them, the same rule applies. You can only keep them around 2 days tops. As for cooked sausages, they could last indefinitely if you decided to freeze them.
There are also other types of sausages such as pepperoni, Genoa Salami, and chorizo that are categorized as dried sausages. These types of sausages can last longer than raw sausages.
On average, you can keep unwrapped dried sausages in the fridge for 3 weeks. But if they’re still wrapped, they can last indefinitely.
What Happens if You Eat Spoiled Sausage?
Once you’ve opened the wrapping and taken the sausages out of the fridge, you should cook them quickly to avoid the risk of them becoming spoiled.
It is also important to note that different people might experience different symptoms and effects.
For instance, immunocompromised people can experience mild to severe food poisoning effects compared to the ones that are young and healthy. Children and old people can also experience severe effects since their immune systems may not be as strong as adults.
In some cases, sausages that are recently spoiled might have little to no bacteria in them. So, you might be experiencing mild effects that only last for a few days.
On the other hand, if you accidentally eat sausages that have spoiled for too long with bacterial and mold growth in them, there is a possibility that you might experience severe symptoms.
Spoiled poultry sausages that are made from chicken or turkey can also cause serious sickness more than beef and other types of sausages. This is because of the bacteria Salmonella which can only be found in this type of sausage.
It is always important to quickly consult your health practitioner if the symptoms such as high fever, non-stop vomiting, frequent nausea, and diarrhea, worsen as days pass instead of getting better.
Can You Eat Expired Sausage?
Every sausage that is sold in the market or your local stores comes with its own sell-by or use-by date labeled on the outside of its package. This is where you can check to know whether the sausage is freshly packed or nearing its expiration date.
But if you keep the sausages in the freezer or fridge and are confident that it is still safe to consume, you can always take a closer look to check its condition.
If you notice any changes in your sausage’s color, texture, and odor after it has been defrosted, then you should throw it away and just buy a new sausage.
The same thing applies to a sausage that might have passed its expiration date only for a day or two. If it still looks good, approach with caution when eating it and quickly consult your doctor if you feel sick after eating it. But if there’s the slightest hint that shows the sausage has spoiled, then throw it away.
Prevention is always better than cure.
Like most processed food, sausage won’t last for years even if preservatives are added. Hence, you should always be aware of its expiration date to avoid eating spoiled sausage.
It is also important to do a quick check on your refrigerated raw or cooked sausages before cooking or eating them. Some signs might not be obvious and in the worst-case scenario, you will only know that they are spoiled right after you get sick.