5 Warning Signs That Pork Has Gone Bad
5 Warning Signs That Pork Has Gone Bad
So, you’re in the mood for pork chops, but you’re not sure if the meat you bought last week is still good. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place! There are 5 leading signs of spoilage in pork: it’s past the sell-by date, it smells sour, it looks yellow or gray, it’s slimy, or it’s in bloated packaging. In this article, we’ll explain all these signs and share how you can store your pork to make it last longer.
How can you tell if pork is bad?

Signs Pork Has Gone Bad

It’s expired. If the sell-by date on your pork’s packaging has passed, the meat is bad. This date is used by retailers to indicate when a food item should be taken off the shelf and thrown out, so follow suit and throw the spoiled meat out!

It smells sour. Take a whiff of the meat. Meat doesn’t normally have a strong odor. So, do not eat it if it smells spoiled, sour, or pungent. This is a leading sign of spoilage and is a clear indicator that the meat should be thrown out.

It’s yellow or gray. A fresh cut of pork has a pinkish hue; as it spoils, this will start to fade. Examine the meat carefully if you suspect it may be spoiled. If the pork has gray spots and/or a yellow hue, it’s gone bad.

It’s slimy. Take a good look at the pork. Is there a slime-like film on it, or does it appear sticky? If so, it’s gone bad and should be thrown out. The slime and/or stickiness is a sign of bacteria.

Its packaging is puffy. Examine the pork’s packaging before opening it. When pork is packaged, it’s vacuum-sealed to prevent any bacteria from getting inside. This means that if the packaging is expanded, bloated, or puffy, bacteria are inside the packaging. When pork (or any meat) goes bad, it produces bacteria that release gasses.

How long is pork good for?

Pork is good for 3 to 5 days in the fridge. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises using raw pork within 3 to 5 days of purchasing it from the supermarket. Leftover cooked pork can be refrigerated and eaten within 3 to 4 days. It’s recommended to store raw and cooked pork at 40 °F (4 °C).

Pork is good in the freezer for up to 2 months. Raw or cooked pork can be stored in the freezer at 0 °F (−18 °C) or below for 1 to 2 months as long as it’s stored properly. To store pork properly, wrap the meat in aluminum foil and place it inside a freezer bag, making sure to remove all the air before sealing. Vacuum sealing your pork is the most effective and safest way to make it last longer in the freezer, but it’s not always the most accessible.

Safe Practices When Purchasing & Storing Pork

Ensure the pork is refrigerated. Always make sure pork’s chilled and refrigerated, whether you’re buying raw or cooked pork. Refrigeration slows the growth of bacteria and prevents the meat from spoiling before the sell-by date.

Pack raw meat in a plastic bag. If you’re purchasing your pork at the grocery store, make sure to place the package of raw meat inside the supplied plastic meat bags. This protects your other groceries from cross-contamination in case there are any spills. You can find rolls of plastic meat bags hanging near the grocery store's meat section.

Keep raw meat on ice if you’ll be out for over an hour. If you have a busy day of errands and won’t be home to put the groceries away for an hour or more, store your pork (and any other perishable or frozen groceries) in an ice box with ice.

Refrigerate or freeze fresh pork immediately. Don’t dilly-dally when you come home from the grocery store—put that meat in the fridge or freezer right away. This helps prevent faster spoilage and ensures your meat stays fresh.

Store whole cuts of meat in the original packaging in the fridge. There’s no need to move the pork from its original packaging once you get home. Simply keep it in the plastic bag and put it in the coldest area of your refrigerator. If you plan on freezing the meat right away, wrap each cut in aluminum foil and place it inside an airtight freezer bag before storing it in the freezer.

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