Skip Nav

How to Tell When Lunch Meats Are Bad

Sure Signs Your Deli Meat Has Gone Bad

The other day, a friend dragged me to the kitchen and asked me to inspect her sliced deli turkey. It had been sitting in the fridge for more than a couple of days, and she wasn't sure if the turkey was still edible or not. I explained that there are several ways to tell when cold cuts have gone bad:

  • Start by looking at the sell-by date. All lunch meats (whether they are prepackaged or fresh cut from the deli) have a sell-by date. It's best to consume the meat within seven to 10 days after the sell-by date.
  • Generally speaking, once it's been opened, eat within three to five days.
  • If the meat is extremely slimy with a film on the outside, throw it away.
  • Any odd or off smells of vinegar, ammonia, or yeast mean it's time to throw out the turkey, pastrami, or ham.
  • This goes without saying, but if there's any mold or growths on the meat or package, dispose of it immediately.
Source: Shutterstock
Latest Food