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Trader Joe’s Meat Smells Like Sulfur/Eggs (Explained)

Trader Joe's Meat Smells Like SulfurEggs

Many people stock up on Trader Joe’s meat because not only is it high quality, but it is also low in price. But, what happens if you go to use the meat and it smells like sulfur/eggs? What does this mean?

If your Trader Joe’s meat smells like sulfur or eggs, then it has likely expired. It may not have passed the expiry date, but if it has been stored incorrectly then it may have started to rot. In rare cases, meat with a bone that has been vacuum-sealed can have that sulfur/egg smell, but it should be fine to eat.

Let’s explain this smell a bit more, shall we?

Causes of Meat Smelling Like Sulfur/Eggs

If your meat from Trader Joe’s has a sulfur or eggy scent to it, then it means that the meat has started to rot. This smell comes from bacterial growth. When bacteria grow, it produces waste. That is what you are smelling.

The smell is likely going to appear when the meat has passed the expiry date. However, anything that can cause bacterial growth e.g. storing the meat incorrectly, can lead to a sulfur/egg smell.

If you have meat with a sulfur or egg smell to it, then it shouldn’t be eaten. There is no way to make it safe. 

The one exception to this rule will be any Trader Joe’s meat that has a bone in it and has been vacuum-sealed. In this case, you can expect there to be a light smell when you open the product packaging.

It shouldn’t be overwhelming. This type of meat is safe to eat, assuming that there isn’t anything else wrong with it e.g. discoloration, etc. 

Trader Joe’s Meat and Sulfur/Egg Smell

There are a few complaints about Trader Joe’s meat having an odd smell to it, but no more so than any other grocery store.

Many of the complaints seem to be from people that stored their meat a little bit too long. They aren’t so much complaining as they are asking for advice about whether it is safe to eat. 

There is a chance that Trader Joe’s is using cheaper meats, but that doesn’t mean that they should be smelling of sulfur/eggs right out of the packaging.

Very few people have complained that the smell has started before the expiry date. Store properly, and that meat shouldn’t have a smell until at least two days after the expiry date on the label. 

Resolving the Sulfur/Egg Smell in Meat

If your meat smells of sulfur/egg and it wasn’t vacuum-sealed, then throw it away. It has started to rot and there is absolutely nothing that you can do to make it properly safe to consume. 

Storing Your Trader Joe’s Meat Properly

Meat should always be stored in the fridge. At the most, meat can be outside of the fridge for around 2 hours.

So, if you are planning on heading to Trader Joe’s, then make sure that you will be home with that meat in the fridge within a couple of hours.

If you don’t plan your trip properly, then you will ruin the meat. The bacteria will start to grow and there is no way to reverse that process.

If you freeze your meat, which many people do when they pick up meat from Trader Joe’s, then freeze it within those 2 hours.

When you defrost the meat, defrost it in the fridge. You shouldn’t leave it on your countertop. Never refreeze frozen meat, although you can freeze it again once you have cooked it.

Always keep an eye on the expiry date for your Trader Joe’s meat. The closer you are to the expiry date, the more likely it is for that meat to start smelling of sulfur, whether you store it in the fridge or not.

In most cases, you should be able to consume meat for up to two days after expiry, but always give it a sniff test to make sure! 

Cooking Meat That Smells of Sulfur/Egg

If the sulfur/egg smell comes from meat that has been vacuum-sealed then you can cook it as normal. As long as the smell isn’t overwhelming, or the meat isn’t discolored, then you should be fine.

In all other cases, don’t cook the meat. It won’t be safe to eat. While cooking will kill the bacteria and get rid of the smell, all of that waste stays behind. This could make you seriously sick. 

Alternative Meat Sources

You should be fine picking up meat from Trader Joe’s. It is rare that it is going to have a sulfur scent to it.

Of course, if you want better quality meat then head to a butcher or a larger grocery store. However, if you don’t store the meat properly, then you will still run into issues.

You can also opt for vegan meat-like products. They won’t have the sulfur smell. They should be safe to eat even when left out of the fridge for a while too (although, do try and keep that to the minimum!). 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does My Meat Smell Like Sulfur?

In most cases, it means that bacteria has started to grow on the meat. Throw it away. It is inedible. 

Is It Normal for Beef to Smell Like Eggs?

No. It isn’t normal. If your beef smells like egg, sulfur, or ammonia, then it means the meat has expired. It is not safe for you to eat it. 

Does Grass-Fed Beef Smell Weird?

Grass-fed beef will have a slightly different scent from grain-fed beef. If you have grass-fed beef, then there will be a hint of a grassy smell to it. This is fine. 

Does Vacuum-Packed Meat Smell?

There will be a slight eggy smell when you open vacuum-packed meat. However, as long as the meat hasn’t expired then the smell should disappear quickly. 

Final Thoughts

If your Trader Joe’s meat smells like sulfur or eggs, then it is likely expired. The smell means that bacteria will have started to grow on the surface of the meat. 

You should avoid consuming any meat kept outside of the fridge for more than two hours. You should be fine to consume meat up to two days after expiry, but if the smell is too overwhelming then throw it in the garbage. 


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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