How to tell when pork is spoiled

Updated February 21, 2017

It takes one to three days to become sick when you eat spoiled food. If you don't know how to tell when meat has gone bad, you increase your chances of eating something rotten without realising it. Spoiled pork is not something you will want to overlook. As with any type of meat, pork has a shelf life that must be respected and the meat must be properly stored to safely preserve its freshness.

Look for a date on the pork packaging. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that no federal laws exist that require butchers and food manufacturers to put expiration dates on products -- except for some baby products -- many of them still do. Familiarise yourself with what the dates mean. For instance, the "use by" date means something different than the "sell by" date. If you have passed the "use by" or expiration date on the pork packaging, then your pork will not be as fresh to eat.

Smell the pork. If it has a neutral smell, then it may still be safe to eat, even if you're a couple of days past the date on the packaging. However, if you come across a sour smell or a foul odour, the pork is spoiled and should be thrown out.

Look for discolouration. Your pork should be a light reddish-pink colour, but if you notice spots of green or grey, it has spoiled. If the meat appears slimy or mouldy, throw it out. Never attempt to cut off the "bad" parts of the pork and attempt to save the non-inflicted areas to eat. Once you see discolouration, the whole piece of pork is spoiled.

Determine if you have practised safe food storage with the pork. Safe food storage refers to how well your meat was preserved after you bought it at the store and took it home. Check to see whether your refrigerator is set to 4.44 degrees Celsius or colder. Also, if you already cooked the pork, think back to whether you put the pork into the fridge promptly after eating your meal, or if you left it sitting out on the counter for longer than two hours. The FDA says that all cooked and leftover foods should be back in the fridge without two hours for maximum freshness.

Count the number of days you've had the cooked leftover pork in the fridge. Cooked meats can last safely in the fridge for a few days, but if you think you've had the leftovers for a week or longer, it is safe to assume that the pork is no longer good to eat.

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About the Author

Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.