It’ll start losing its color. Red meat will start turning brown. It'll have a sour smell.
If it’s really bad, it’ll get a glossy golden-colored film on it. Pork tends to turn more towards the green side. It’ll get grayish first, then have a really rancid smell. Chicken will get a sheen.
Starting to feel queasy???
Chicken tends to be higher in bacteria than meat, so it's something I’m more careful with. If I’m not using the chicken today, I won’t buy it. I always wash my chicken in cold water. And I always sanitize my hands, the faucets, and anything that the chicken touches.
One of the reasons butchers don’t cut chicken on the same bench we cut meat on (unless the bench has been thoroughly sanitized), is that chicken needs to be cooked properly.
Beef you often eat rare. If you were to eat a rare steak that had touched chicken, then you could end up with a little salmonella … or other stuff like stomach upset, diarrhea . You get the picture.
So sanitization is extremely important, and today, any good butcher will understand this. Wasn't always so. I’ve heard a lot of older butchers say to me, “I wonder how many people we made sick in the old days," when they cut chicken on the same bench as meat.
Every hour, the bacteria count doubles on a cutting bench. So if the bacteria count is say, 50,000, in an hour it’s 100,000, in 2 hours it’s 200,000. That's why it's so important to sanitize your cutting areas frequently.
Oh, about chicken... If you want to check how fresh a chicken is, smell the bone parts first. If it’s a whole chicken, try to smell inside the cavity.
Happy worry-free eating!