Whether you commonly serve breakfast sausage links or just purchased fresh sausages to throw on the grill, it’s easy to place these items in the fridge and forget about them for a while. Before you think about cooking those sausages, it’s crucial to make sure that they’re safe to eat first.

Look at the sausage. Depending on the type of sausage you have, it may look grayish if it’s spoiled. There also may be a slimy coating over the sausage. Any mold is a definite sign of a bad sausage, so toss those quick.

Smell the sausage. Bad sausage will have a sour smell. If the smell is “off,” get rid of it.

Refer to the USDA food handling guidelines and look at the expiration dates for sausage unless you placed it in the freezer immediately after you purchased it. Raw fresh sausage should be eaten within one to two days of purchase, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. Cooked and packaged sausages, such as breakfast patties and links, can be kept in the refrigerator for seven days. Frozen sausage can last one to two months in the freezer. To avoid eating bad sausage, don’t eat any sausage that has been in the fridge or freezer for longer than the recommended times.