Pork is a popular meat served in many households around the world. But, how can you tell if your pork has gone bad? Eating spoiled pork can lead to foodborne illnesses, such as salmonella and E. coli. It’s essential to know the signs of bad pork to avoid any health issues. In this article, we will discuss the top signs to look for.
What is bad pork?
Pork that has gone bad is spoiled meat that is no longer safe to eat. The meat may have been contaminated with bacteria, which causes it to rot and develop an unpleasant smell, taste, and appearance. Eating bad pork can cause food poisoning and other bacterial infections that can be dangerous to your health.
Top signs to look for when pork is bad
The first sign of spoiled pork is the smell. If you notice a strong, sour, or ammonia-like smell, it’s an indication that the meat has gone bad. When pork is sound, it has a mild, fresh odor. But if the scent is unpleasant, best to avoid it or throw it away.
The second indication that your pork is bad is the color. Fresh pork should have a pinkish-red color, but if it has a dark and off-color hue or grayish color, it’s no longer safe to eat. This color change happens due to the bacteria that have started to grow on the meat.
Another sign of bad pork is the texture of the meat. Spoiled pork will feel slimy and tacky to touch. If you notice that your pork is slimy, wet, or sticky, these are all indications that the meat has started to decompose.
Expiration date is also a crucial factor to consider when consuming pork. Pay attention to the expiration date and sell-by date of pork. The FDA recommends that pork should be cooked or frozen within three to four days of purchasing it for optimal freshness. After this time period, it’s best to discard it even if it looks okay as bacteria could begin to develop.
If you purchase pork from the supermarket, check the package for any bloating or swelling. It’s a sign of bacteria growth and can be toxic if consumed. It’s best to discard it if this happens.
Blood spots on the pork meat are an indication of poor handling or storage of the meat. The spots may indicate that the meat has stayed too long in the slaughterhouse or has been stored at an improper temperature, which could cause bacterial growth.
Mold or fungal growth
If you notice any mold or fungal growth on the surface of your pork, it’s an indication that the meat has gone off. Mold indicates that the meat has been exposed to air for a long time, and it’s been contaminated with bacteria. It’s best to discard any pork that has mold growth.
Pork that has a slimy residue on the surface is bad. The slimy film on pork is a result of bacterial growth and indicates that the meat is no longer fresh enough for consumption. Be sure to thoroughly inspect the meat, and if it has a slimy texture or surface, it’s best to throw it away.
If you notice an off taste from the pork meat or a metallic taste, that’s an indication that it’s not safe to eat. This could happen due to contamination, poor handling or storage or being leftover for too long. Discard it immediately as it could cause food poisoning.
Texture of fat
When pork fat has started to spoil, it changes in texture and feels gritty or slimy. If you notice a slimy texture on the fat part of the meat, it’s a sign of bacterial growth and an indication that the meat is no longer fresh. This can also lead to an unpleasant taste and should be avoided altogether.
Weight loss or shrinkage
Weight loss or shrinkage is another sign that pork has gone bad. It occurs due to moisture loss due to exposure to air. It is a natural process of meat, but when it is extreme, it indicates that the meat has gone off. Avoid any pork that has shrunk excessively.
Fever, vomiting, and diarrhea after consumption
Fever, vomiting, and diarrhea are symptoms of food poisoning. If you experience any of these symptoms after consuming pork, it indicates that the meat was bad, and bacterial infection could have taken place. Seek medical attention immediately and avoid consumption in the future.
The package is vacuum-sealed with air
When purchasing pork, check if the package is vacuum-sealed or not. Pork that has been vacuum-sealed will stay fresh for longer, and it is not prone to bacterial growth. But if the package is vacuum-sealed with air, it provides the perfect environment for bacteria growth, which could pose a danger to your health.
Meat texture on cutting
When cutting pork meat to cook, take note of the texture. If the meat seems to be slimy or sticky, that’s an indication that bacteria are present. It is not safe to cook and consume such pork.
How to prevent bad pork?
Prevention is better than cure. Here are some tips to ensure that you consume healthy and fresh pork:
Store it at the right temperature
Whether it’s before or after cooking, pork should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F to 32°F to prevent bacterial growth. Keep the raw pork in a sealed container, and don’t let it touch other foods to prevent bacterial contamination.
Cook it to the right temperature
Cook the pork to the right temperature to ensure that all the bacteria have been killed. The internal temperature should be 145°F for chops, roasts, and steaks, and 160°F for ground pork.
Don’t leave it out for too long
Don’t leave raw pork out for over two hours. Leaving raw pork at room temperature for an extended time could cause bacterial growth and food poisoning.
Buy only from reputable sources
Buy pork from reputable suppliers and inspect it carefully before purchasing. If you are not satisfied with the quality, do not buy it, or return it to the store.
Store in the freezer
If you’re not cooking your pork within three to four days, store it in the freezer to prolong its shelf life. Frozen pork can last up to six months.
In summary, pork is a popular meat that should be consumed fresh and safe to avoid foodborne illnesses. When you carefully inspect the pork before purchasing or cooking, it’ll go a long way towards preventing food poisoning. If you notice any of the signs discussed in this article, it’s best to discard the meat to avoid any health issues.
Common Questions and Answers
- What is the shelf life of cooked pork?
- What is the temperature for cooking pork?
- What are the symptoms of food poisoning from bad pork?
- How can you tell if pork is cooked correctly?
According to the USDA, cooked pork may have a shelf life of three to four days when refrigerated properly.
For safe consumption, cook pork to an internal temperature of around 145°F to 160°F.
The symptoms of food poisoning from eating bad pork may include fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.
When pork is cooked correctly, the internal temperature of the meat should be between 145°F to 160°F, and the juices should be clear and not pink.