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It’s not as if a fresh sirloin steak or flank steak is going to last for weeks. But, compared to ground or chopped meat a whole cut of protein has a considerably longer shelf life, about 3 to 5 days if properly stored in the refrigerator and handled as little as possible, as opposed to 1 to 2 days for the ground variety. This has to do with bacterial growth. Since bacteria thrive on the surface of meat, and ground or chopped meat has much more surface area, they are susceptible to faster rates of spoilage as a consequence of speedy bacterial growth. Microbes aside, meat can also spoil because of enzymes. For example, an enzyme call lipase acts on fats and produces a fatty acid with a very sharp, peanut-like smell, and tends to produce a slimy, colorless liquid, explains Shelke. Proteolytic enzymes, on the other hand, break down protein and produces amino acids, amines, ammonia and hydrogen sulphate, leaving the spoiling meat with a very distinctive, pungent off-smell.

(Lauri Patterson/iStockphoto)

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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