So I bought some Lean Organic Ground Beef about a week ago, went straight into the Freezer. Used 3/4 of it for Hamburger helper, cooked all the way through...smelled fine and looked fine.

However I noticed on the Uneaten ground beef (was gonna save it in the freezer) (of course after i had eaten and was putting something in the freezer). That there was a black...small spot on the ground beef. I've seen spoiled meat/beef before and it's brown, however this was very dark and black and was very small. Now the rest of the meat I looked at/smelled and it was fine. And the meat wasn't past due or anything and it went STRAIGHT into the freezer.

What could this dark spot had been. It was QUITE dark and very small (maybe about the size of a match head). if so....do you think the rest of the meat was ok? considering I did cook it thoroughly, im just curious what the black spot was. Obviously I don't want to get mad cow disease or something lol

2 Answers 2


Obviously hard to know for sure. The laws and guidelines dictate use of food grade equipment so if a piece falls off and ingested, it does little harm. If you cooked it, then you have even less to worry.

As a precaution, I suggest taking it to the store and asking about it so other customers don't trip on the same issue. Harmless or otherwise. If they don't know for sure, then suggest to them to send in for a lab test.

In descending likelihood, it could be:

  • a piece of buna rubber broken off from a gasket (grinding machine, or other). Not a hazard. It's not far from chewing gum ;)

  • a piece of meat that came in contact with the lubricant oil in the machine. Also usually food grade. They turn dark after a while.

  • sometimes the meat branding ink on the outside ends up in the grind (also food grade). Though they are usually dark blue.

  • piece of old blood clot, liver or other organs.

  • not likely here, but I have heard Listeria shows up black. Though i'd imagine it would spread and look more fuzzy/furry. Most bacterium die during proper cooking.

  • 1
    Well I did not even use that piece and cooked it......very well so Im prolly at least ok i'd think? If it was a blood clot/other organ is that like ok? at least listeria only infects like 7 in a million......so that seems doubtful hopefully lol
    – user17188
    Mar 25, 2013 at 11:43
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    no, it doesn't seem alarming. I'd still recommend calling the number on the label (if there is one). If they are proper organic, they care about this stuff. ps. +1 on choosing organic meat.
    – MandoMando
    Mar 25, 2013 at 14:36
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    Ya your right, im betting from the look of it it was possibly some sort of other organ.
    – user17188
    Mar 25, 2013 at 18:16

I know this is an old thread, but I have a clue and was hoping for confirmation. It happened to me a couple of times and I suspect the black spots occur at the point where meat is squeezed between the rotary blade and the shaft. I ruled out that there's anything wrong with the meat or any foreign substance (such as lube) from the grinder. Just some weird chemical reaction with the metal blade that turns the meat dark.

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