Wondering if plant-based meat goes bad? The answer is yes! Find out how long Beyond, Impossible, and other plant-based meats last.
Plant-based meat is a popular product for vegans, vegetarians, and flexible plant-based eaters who want to occasionally skip real meat.
New products can be confusing to consumers, when it comes to proper storage and preparation as many are unique and don’t fall into a specific food category with clear storage and handling instructions.
If you’ve often wondered if plant-based meat goes bad, then you’re in the right place.
The short answer is yes, plant-based meat does go bad, but there are steps you can take to extend its shelf-life. Find out just how long plant-based meat lasts and learn some helpful hacks for keeping it fresh.
How long does plant-based meat last in the fridge?
In general, plant-based meat will last in the fridge, unopened for at least a week to 10 days depending on the brand. Some plant-based meat products last longer than others, however all will have a shortened shelf life after they’re opened.
Keep in mind that these guidelines only apply when the plant-based meats have been stored at the proper refrigerator temperature and have not been left out in what’s known as the temperature danger zone for more than two hours (or more than one hour if the temperature is 90° Fahrenheit or above).
According to the USDA, the temperature danger zone is between 40° Fahrenheit and 140° Fahrenheit. In addition, refrigerator temperatures should be 40° Fahrenheit or lower for safe storage.
If you’re wondering how long does Beyond Meat last, you’re about to find out. When Beyond Meat products are purchased refrigerated (not frozen), they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days after they’re thawed.
According to Beyond Meat’s customer service team, the grocery store where the product is purchased is required to put a “best by” sticker on the product when it’s thawed.
This means that by the time you make your purchase, it may have a shorter shelf life in your fridge if the store thawed it multiple days before you brought it home.
After Beyond Meat is opened, it’s recommended that the product be consumed within three days.
How long can Impossible meat be in the fridge? Impossible is like other major plant-based meat brands when it comes to storage. According to the Impossible website, products should be consumed by the “best by” date on the package.
If the product was previously frozen and thawed, it should be eaten within 10 days or by the “best by” date on the package, whichever comes first.
It’s also recommended that Impossible products be stored in an airtight container to ensure freshness. After opening, products should be eaten within three days.
Of note, Impossible products may also have an “if frozen best if used by” date sticker, which should be followed if present on the product.
Field Roast makes a variety of plant-based meats, including burgers, sausages, pepperoni, deli slices, and roasts.
According to the Field Roast website, products can be kept frozen for one year and once thawed, they’re good for 65 days. This is a much longer shelf life than many other plant-based meats including Beyond Meat and Impossible.
Additionally, Field Roast products can be refrozen to extend their shelf life, another difference that sets it apart from the others.
Like other plant-based meat manufacturers, Field Roast recommends following the “use by” stickers added to the products by the store where they’re purchased.
From plant-based chicken and tempeh to plant-based burgers, sausage, and hot dogs, Lightlife is one of the more versatile plant-based meat companies on the market today.
Most often, Lightlife products are found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store and the company recommends continued fridge storage at home versus freezing.
However, when frozen, the products will stay good for one year. As with all plant-based meats, it’s recommended that you follow the “best by” sticker on the product at the date of purchase.
Additionally, it’s recommended that the products be consumed by the “best by” date, even if frozen.
Signs your plant-based meat has gone bad
If your wondering how to tell if Beyond meat is bad, well, there’s a lot to know.
Plant-based meat may not have the same spoilage signs as real meat, so it’s important to know what to look for when determining if your plant-based meat has gone bad.
The first and most important thing to look for is the “best by” date on the package. If the product has passed the “best by” date then it’s worth avoiding if you want to greatly reduce your risk of a bacteria or viral exposure that may cause a foodborne illness.
However, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many “best by” dates are not based in exact science.
Often, the dates on the products pertain to the quality of the product, not safety. In other words, the “best by” dates may not be intended as an expiration date and the product may be safe to eat past the date on the sticker.
Still, the FDA recommends looking at the product for changes in color or texture to determine if the product should be eaten.
Despite this, it’s recommended that “best by” dates and product storage guidelines be followed when indicated by the company such as is the case with Beyond Meat and Impossible products.
What happens if you eat plant-based meat that has gone bad?
Eating expired or spoiled food can come with health risks.
Many types of foodborne illnesses are possible depending on the handling, storage, and preparation of the product.
Some common bacteria and/or viruses causing foodborne illness include Staphylococcus, Shigella, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, E. Coli, Norovirus, and Campylobacter.
Exposure to one or more of these bacteria or viruses in food will result in varied symptoms.
Severity of the illness depends on the type of bacteria/virus, individual health status, age, and medical conditions such as pregnancy or other chronic condition that weakens the immune system.
There’s no guarantee that eating plant-based meat that has gone bad won’t result in a foodborne illness, so it’s best to always follow recommended food safety practices when purchasing, handling, and preparing plant-based meat.
Tips for extending the shelf life
Plant-based meat must be properly stored to ensure its safety, quality, and freshness. You can improve the shelf-life of your favorite plant-based meats by incorporating a few of these best practices.
1. Keep the plant-based meat cold during transport
Consider bringing an insulated bag or a cooler to help keep products cold during transport. This is especially important when you travel a longer distance to a grocery store or have multiple stops between grocery shopping and storage of the plant-based meat at home.
2. Buy frozen plant-based meat when possible
Frozen plant-based meats can be stored longer than refrigerated products. If you purchase frozen plant-based meat, make sure to take steps to keep it frozen since thawing the products will impact the quality and shelf-life in most cases.
3. Avoid the temperature danger zone
As with any refrigerated or frozen food, it’s important that plant-based meat is stored at the proper temperature.
This means avoiding the temperature danger zone of 40° Fahrenheit to 140° Fahrenheit for more than two hours. If the food is in extreme temperatures of 90° Fahrenheit or more, it shouldn’t be in the temperature danger zone for more than one hour.
4. Store products in an airtight container
Storing products in an airtight container can help to ensure they stay fresh. This storage practice may not impact the shelf-life of many products, but can influence quality which may have an impact on taste.
The bottom line
Plant-based meats have a range of shelf-life recommendations depending on the product.
Some are frozen or shelf-stable which results in a longer shelf-life whereas others are refrigerated and may need to be consumed in a shorter timeframe.
Follow manufacturer recommendations for safe handling and storage of the plant-based meat you choose to help prevent a foodborne illness.
- USDA website
- Beyond Meat website
- Impossible website
- Field Roast website
- Lightlife website
- FDA website
- National Restaurant Association ServSafe resources
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