Although the preservation process makes beef jerky last longer than fresh meat, it can go bad. If it contains fat, the fat may become rancid. If the color, smell or texture of the jerky has changed, do not eat it.
When making beef jerky, the meat is dried and salted. This removes most of the moisture that promotes bacterial growth and spoils meat. When stored properly, jerky can last for up to two years. However, heat, fat content and the presence of air can increase bacterial growth.
Jerky should be stored in vacuum-sealed packages in a cool, dry place. Never store it near a stove or other heat source or leave it lying in the sun. Homemade jerky can be kept for up to 3 months, and store bought varieties can keep for up to 2 years. In addition, beef jerky is suitable for freezing.