How do I tell if pork has turned bad?

Updated April 14, 2017

Any meat taken for human consumption from a pig that is less than one year old is considered pork. Pig meat is cut and packaged in several forms, including pork chops, sausages, ribs, tenderloins and hams. Like other forms of meat, pork contains naturally occurring bacteria that are rendered harmless when the meat is properly cleaned and prepared. Pork must also be stored at appropriate temperatures. If this does not happen, it may spoil. Determining if pork has spoiled is important for the health and safety of the people eating it.

Check for a use-by date if the pork is packaged. Discard pork if the date for consumption has passed. This date is determined by the packaging plant and represents the very last day that the meat's quality is guaranteed.

Figure out how long the pork was exposed to temperatures above 4.5 degrees C (40 degrees Fahrenheit). If the time exceeds two hours, then bacterial growth causing spoilage may be present.

Identify bacterial spoilage by studying the smell and colouration of the meat. If a foul odour is being emitted from the pork, or if the meat has a grey, brown or has a green tint, it is likely rotten.

Examine the surface of the pork. The presence of growth resembling tiny hairs, or a film of slime on the meat indicates mould spoilage.

Determine if and when the meat was refrigerated at 4.5 degrees C (40 degrees Fahrenheit) or, or frozen at -18 degrees Celsius (0 degrees Fahrenheit) or colder. Ground pork becomes susceptible to spoiling after two days in a refrigerator, and four months in a freezer.

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About the Author

Anthony Rose has been writing since 2009, covering home improvement, health, business and politics. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Tulane University.