Sweet Odor from Ground Beef

Updated on November 16, 2011
O.S. asks from Encinitas, CA
8 answers

Couple of months ago I bought a pound of organic grass-fed ground beef on sale at Whole Foods Market and put it into the freezer the same day. Recently I've decided to cook something with that and got it out. It had a sweet odor, almost like some sort of flowers. It is kind of weird. Do you have any ideas what it can be - maybe they put some sort of refresheners into the meet in the store (although I doubt that)? Can I use it or toss it away?

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from La Crosse on

I have never used organic meat.. but I would be leary of eating it if it smelled like that. Even though as long as it was froze by the date, I would probably wouldn't eat it.

Edit My Answer
1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

The first time I bought grass fed beef I had the same reaction. It smelled so strange I was afraid to eat it and almost threw it out. I called the meat dept at Whole Foods and it turns out that is how it is supposed to smell - a little sweeter than what we are used to - and it will taste very different than the corn fed beef you are used to (and each time you get some it may taste a bit different as the grasses the cows feed on change with the seasons and where the beef comes from) - but the second time we were not only used to it, we found it delicious - like a sirloin burger. I am also told it is far healthier to eat it - for a number of reasons, including the lack of hormones, no mad cow disease from the way the feed gets processed for corn fed cows.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

If the meat doesn't have a slimy feel to it or does not have a sort of oil irridescent sheen covering it, it's most likely fine. Did it smell sweet before you put it in the freezer? If not, it's possible that something has grown in the freezer, although fairly unlikely. Most bacteria that would grow in meat don't grow well below 60 deg F (and really only grow well at room temp or above). However, if it was left at room temp for several hours after it completed defrosting, I would be very careful of it.

With all ground beefs, it's important to make sure they're well cooked, as the risk of bacterial contamination and growth is greater than with whole muscle. Fortunately, most food spoilage bacteria will be killed in the cooking process, although any toxins they've produced in the process may remain. These may or may not be harmful, depending on the toxin and quantity. Consider this, though. Throughout history in times of starvation, people who, because of their genetic make up, could NOT smell spoilage ate suspect food and survived, where as those who could smell spoilage were more likely to die of starvation. This suggests that we actually can safely eat a lot more things that smell spoiled than we do, not that I particularly recommend this, however (and don't sue me if you eat something that you're concerned about and get sick! :-) ). In my family, I'm very sensitive to spoilage smells and won't eat a lot of things that my DH happily chows down on, because he can't smell the spoilage. He's still with me after 28 years!


answers from Chicago on

I bet it's because grass-fed cattle are out in pastures eating grass, along with clover or anything else that might be mixed in with the grass (flowers, dandelions etc...) This could be the reason. In fact, I just watched Food Inc last night. It was a real eye-opener and makes me either want to become a vegetarian completely, or buy what little meat I will eat at a place like Whole Foods.



answers from Augusta on

if you thawed it rapidly it could be due to that.



answers from Los Angeles on

normal. grass also smells sweet. I am trying to switch to organic, and it is amazing how much better some things taste.


answers from Houston on

Thats probably how it is supposed to smell and hardly anyone knows that because they mostly get corn fed factory kills.

Im so glad im a vegetarian



answers from Bellingham on

Just another thought entirely. When I was pregnant and cooked ground beef, it smelled like toffee cooking. My sense of smell went whacko. Perhaps you should check? ;-)

Also, I own a cattle property with grass fed Angus beef cattle. All the other producers I know have grass fed beef cattle. The quality of our beef is excellent, but I don't believe grass feeding should result in a flowery smell.

Next question: Grass Fed Beef