Thursday, December 4, 2008

Is Half-Price Meat Safe?

My wife is quite frugal and often comes home from grocery shopping with a cut of meat sold at half price that has to be cooked within a day. We don’t seem to have had any problems eating these cuts of meat, but they leave me a little uneasy.

I presume that the reason for the price discount is that these cuts are older than the full-price cuts. Presumably this means that the odds of getting sick from eating discounted meat are higher. I’m wondering how much higher.

I’d like to say that we’ve never had a problem eating discounted meat, but it’s hard to know for sure. We don’t seem to have had any serious incidents of food poisoning, but minor bouts of stomach upset are common and hard to attribute to any particular cause.

Most likely the risk from eating discounted meat pales in comparison to the risk of driving a car. I’ll probably continue to have a flicker of uneasiness when I’m told that dinner includes half-price meat, but only a flicker, and then I’ll dive in.


  1. Be sure to cook it thoroughly - no rare steaks if the age of the meat is in question.

  2. Assuming it's from a reputable store, there shouldn't be a problem. Most meat from major retailers is very clean already (out of fear of lawsuits) and I assume has a margin of safety on best before dates. I often buy meat on sale and freeze it immediately for later use. If it only had a day to go before the BB date, then I'd probably use it for stews, meatloaf, burgers, etc... as anon said, rare might not be the best option with those.

  3. Seriously - don't worry about the meat unless it's past it's best before date.

  4. hi Michael ... my wife does the same and we never got sick :-)

    She talked to the meat guy at Loblaws and he sais there was nothing to worry about. They put the meat half-price as soon as the color does not look good enough for people to want to buy the meat. The best-before date also includes a safety margin. They can't afford people getting sick on their meat (think on the Maple Leaf crisis!)