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Many halal meat markets don’t have a ‘sell-by’ date on the packaging for red meats so it’s basically a matter of asking the butcher when the meat arrived and when they put it in the display case. You should also ask if it came to them frozen and if they froze then thawed out the meat before putting it into their case. That will give you a time frame of how old (thus, how fresh) the meat actually is.
Meat can be one of the tastiest foods on the planet, or the most dangerous, depending upon how it reaches you. There’s no denying that the vast majority of people like to eat meat so check the three important things when buying it:
1. Smell – Perhaps the quickest way to know if your meat is over the hill is to consider how it smells.
2. Texture – In addition to an unpleasant scent, spoiled meats can be sticky or slimy to the touch.
3. Color – Rotten meats will also undergo a slight change in color.
These are some useful advice on what to look for when trying to buy the freshest possible meat. Here’s what to look for to the meat in front of you:
1. Color of the meat: Red meat like lamb or beef should be bright red- that means it’s the freshest. If it turns a bit purple, it’s still ok but means it’s been exposed to some oxygen.
2. Firmness of the Meat: Press the meat firmly with your finger- if it springs back nicely, it is fresh; if not, it is most likely old because it is losing its firmness.
3. Smell the meat- always. It shouldn’t smell like anything, really. Lamb has more of a gamey or wild animal smell, which is normal but meat should never smell like bleach, ammonia or anything foul. If you don’t smell it up close, chances are you may not even notice anything unusual.
If you're not sure how to tell if meat is bad, give it a good smell. If it smells rancid, strong, or unpleasant, the meat has probably gone bad and should be thrown away. If it smells okay but you're still not sure, touch the surface of the meat. If it smells sticky or slimy, it is probably bad.