How to Tell if Ground Turkey Is Bad (3 Simple Ways to Tell)

When your looking for something that is quick, healthy and versatile ground turkey is a go to. You can make meatballs, throw into a chilli, create lettuce wraps or nachos.

But this doesn’t matter if your turkey is spoiled! So how to tell if your ground turkey has gone bad? There are four main signs you can look out for when figuring out if it safe to eat.


How to Tell if Ground Turkey Is Bad

Below are the common and simple ways to check if your ground turkey is off.

Check The Use By Date

The first thing is to check the use-by date on your package of ground turkey. The manufacturer has a legal requirement to monitor and set a date when processing.

Have left this fresh in your fridge past the date? Throw it out!

Air Exposure to Raw Meat

Did you remove the turkey from the original packaging? Or have noticed a breach in the seal?

Exposure to air accelerates the growth of bacteria. Check the packaging for holes or move to an airtight container after purchase.

Texture of The Turkey

If you are still not sure then check for a slimy or sticky texture. All types of ground turkey are ground to a coarse paste.

Look for Changes in Color

Fresh and safe-to-eat ground turkey is light pink, a darker or brownish color is not what you want to see.

Bad meat will also tend to go a gray color from oxidization. Inspect for signs of discoloration in raw poultry carefully. This is because it might be a different color in the middle or at the bottom.

Smell The Turkey

Smelling the meat is probably the most effective way to know if meat is bad.

As a foul odor and your natural response are hard to ignore. This definitive smell may stink of rotten eggs. Or have a characteristic sulfur-like smell.


How Should I Store Raw Ground Meat?

Do not leave your raw ground turkey out of the refrigerator for longer than 60 minutes. Keep it in its packaging or an airtight container until you plan on cooking.

What Should My Refrigerator Temperature Be Set To?

The correct temperature in the fridge to store ground turkey is between 4°F – 7°F.

Food Safety Summary – Advice for Poultry

– Note down the expiry date and plan to cook it before.

– Store airtight in the fridge for no more than 3 days.

– Freeze it for up to 3-4 months.

– Eat on the day it defrosts using one of the methods above.

– Check the color, smell, and texture to indicate bad meat.

– Always throw away if unsure.

– Contact medical services if you are suffering severe food poisoning.


Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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