How To Tell If Pork Is Bad

How To Tell If Pork Is Bad – 5 Clear Ways To Know

When properly preserved and prepared, pork is a culinary delight. From pork chops to ribs, pork belly, roast, cutlets, ham, and bacon, pork is rich in protein and can be used to prepare hundreds of dishes.

There are a few simple ways to tell if pork is spoiled. Sadly, pork is perishable, so it is prone to spoilage.

When in doubt, check for rancid odors, slimy or overly dry texture, discoloration, mold growth, and the expiration date on the package.

What you can do to prevent pork from spoiling and how to tell if it has gone bad are discussed below:

Ways To Tell If Pork Is Bad

If you want to avoid food poisoning from eating bad pork, you must determine whether the meat is suitable for cooking and eating.

Symptoms of food poisoning from pork can be severe, but the severity differs depending on the type of bacteria, the amount ingested, and the individual’s age and overall health.

Pork that is fresh and healthy will have a nice pink color, be moist but not slimy, and will not smell strongly.

It is important to properly inspect pork before cooking it, as it can make the difference between a delicious dish and an unpleasant one.

Getting sick after eating pork is a sure sign that it’s gone bad. But you’re supposed to avoid that, right?

The good news is that there are simpler and safer methods of identifying spoiled pork, most of which are easy to do and can save you a lot of discomfort.

Here are 5 ways to tell if pork has gone bad:

1. Check The Smell

A good way to tell if your pork has gone bad is to smell it. It is the simplest and oldest method for identifying rotten meat.

When bacteria infiltrate pork, it undergoes chemical and structural changes that cause it to smell foul.

Pork that has been spoiled emits a sour smell similar to ammonia, which gets worse over time.

Pork may also smell odd when packaged in certain ways, and it is important to distinguish this odor from the one associated with spoiled pork.

Pork vacuum-packed in vacuum packs normally has an off-putting odor that quickly dissipates when rinsed and dried.

It is probably not the packaging that caused the smell after you rinsed and dried the meat, so toss it in the trash right away if the smell still persists.

2. Check The Texture

You can also use your touch senses to check the freshness of pork.

When you examine fresh pork, you should feel it is solid and slightly damp to the touch. You should examine it closely and check for any irregularities.

As you can imagine, slime is rarely a good thing when it comes to food. Keep an eye out for excessive dampness and throw away meat that feels slimy or sticky.

When the surface of the meat is overly dry, this indicates that it is old and not safe for consumption.

3. Check The Color

Pork’s appearance also tells a lot about the meat’s health along with its smell and texture.

Pork is pink all over, but its color varies depending on the cut. Pork butt, for example, tends to have a darker pink color, while pork loin roast and chops have a paler pink color.

The color may fade or darken over time if incorrect storage methods are used. If the meat has any gray or brown patches, discard it.

Fat in meat should be white in color. If it begins to turn yellow, the meat is deteriorating and this is especially true for cuts like pork butt or spareribs.

Changing the color of meat is an indication of spoiled meat, but it can also be caused by oxidation, which occurs when the meat isn’t properly wrapped and oxygen enters.

4. Check For Mold Growth

Whenever your pork becomes moldy, it is past its prime and has gone bad. Mold thrives in moist environments, so don’t store pork for an extended period.

Do not attempt to remove mold and continue to cook meat without mold growth if you find mold on your meat.

Mold runs deep and its effects cannot be seen with the naked eye. Eating moldy meat may make you very sick, which is why it is best to discard any meat that shows any signs of mold contamination.

4. Check The Expiration Date

Retailers use the sell-by date on packaged meats to know when to remove them from shelves.

Using or freezing pork with a sell-by date within five days of purchase can also be an indication of whether the meat is fresh.

There is also a use-by date to guide customers as to when the food should be eaten or frozen in addition to the sell-by date.

You should not consume meat after its expiration date and dispose of it as it is most likely spoiled.

5. Extra Precautions

For such instances, follow your gut instinct as it is rarely wrong, even though these signs are easy to check and are often clear indicators of spoiled meat.

There may be some countries around the world that are not as careful when it comes to meat handling and processing, and this is where your instincts come into play.

Some sellers might even try to change the sell-by date on their meat products using shady tactics. If you see the meat packaged strangely, you should walk away.

Do not buy pork if there are flies in the shop or if the meat is not refrigerated within the recommended time frame.

It’s better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes, the meat may still taste good, but contains bacteria and other contaminants that could infect your stomach and cause illness.

How To Tell If Cooked Pork Has Gone Bad

As with raw pork, you can tell if cooked pork is spoiled by a bad odor, slimy texture, gray flesh, and mold growth.

You may not be able to smell pork after it sits in the refrigerator for a long time, such as when you have leftovers.

When cold or frozen, even raw pork may not emit such a strong smell. You should warm it up before smelling it.

Mold growth is also an indication that meat needs to be discarded immediately if it has a bad odor or sliminess similar to raw pork.

What Happens When You Cook Spoiled Pork?

In spite of the fact that heat kills certain food-borne parasites, it doesn’t work on pork that has already gone bad.

If you cook spoiled pork, it won’t fix the unpleasant qualities, only intensify them. It also won’t taste good, nor will it be appetizing, which defeats the purpose of cooking it.

A person who consumes spoiled meat could suffer from cramps, nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting, and may need medical attention.

Ultimately, there is no point in cooking food if you suspect that it has gone bad. If you have any suspicion whatsoever that the meat you are working with is bad, it is best to discard it right away.

What Is The White Stuff Coming From Pork When Cooking?

In some cases, you will see a white substance seeping out of pork and other meats when they are cooked.

White discharge occurs when protein and water separate from the meat during cooking and start to coagulate.

New chefs may find this visually unappetizing and disconcerting, but it is harmless and has no effect on the meat’s flavor or quality.

Cooking meat too quickly and on very high heat is believed to produce the white substance more frequently.

You may want to cook pork at a lower temperature to reduce its appearance. Reverse searing is another good cooking method, particularly if you have a searing burner on your grill.

How To Prevent Pork From Going Bad

Poor handling and storage are the main causes of pork going bad.

Pork, like other meats, is perishable and will go bad after a certain amount of time, but there are ways to prolong its life and prevent it from spoiling.

1. Maintain A Cool Temperature

All types of meat, including pork, should be stored at a cool temperature below 40°F, according to the USDA.

Immediately after you get your meat home from the grocery store, place it in the fridge or freezer to maintain its temperature.

2. Examine The Packaging

It is generally a good indication of the freshness and proper storage of pork to look at the condition of its packaging.

Fresh and clean meat will last much longer, so avoid buying pork with broken, torn, or unclean packaging.

3. Freeze For Longer Storage

For longer shelf life, rewrap and freeze the pork in a freezer-safe airtight container after purchasing it if you do not intend to use it within 2-3 days.

Keeping the pork at a colder temperature reduces the growth of bacteria and extends its shelf life.

4. Thaw With Caution

Never thaw frozen pork on the kitchen counter or in hot water since it will most likely spoil. Thaw it in the refrigerator, cold water, or the microwave.

Pork can be cooked in the oven, on the stove, or on the grill. If you are using a slow cooker, you must thaw it first.

How Long Does Pork Last Before Going Bad?

If raw pork is not stored at a constant temperature, pathogenic bacteria can develop that can cause serious illness.

At Room Temperature

Pork kept at room temperature for more than two hours is likely to be contaminated and should be discarded.

Even if it appears, smells, and feels fine, it should be discarded if the ambient temperature exceeds 90°F for more than an hour.

For your reference, here’s an informative video from Shangnairan on YouTube about storing pork without a refrigerator.

In The Fridge

Refrigeration or freezing are the best ways to store pork. Raw pork will last 3-5 days in the fridge. Ground pork will last about 2 days in the refrigerator.

In the fridge, cooked pork stays fresh for about 3 days if it was fresh when cooked and stored properly when raw.

In The Freezer

The best way to prolong the life of your pork is to freeze it several days before it expires, in order to retain maximum freshness. Do not freeze pork that appears to be spoiled.

Pork roasts and chops can be frozen for up to a year in an airtight container, but ground pork stays good for about 4 months.

Related Questions

Having learned how to tell if pork is bad and how to prevent it from spoiling, here are a few additional questions you may have:

How do you store leftover pork roast?

Use the leftover pork within three to four days after placing it in an airtight container.

How do you freeze cooked pork?

If you freeze the meat in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag, it should last indefinitely, although the flavor will start to deteriorate after 4-6 months.

How to tell when pork is cooked?

In order to cook pork safely, it must reach an internal temperature of 145°F. If the insides are still pink, you can cook it to 155°F.

The internal temperature of pulled pork must reach 195°F in order for it to shred easily.

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