How to Determine When Pork Is Fresh

Written by jeffrey norman
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How to Determine When Pork Is Fresh
Fresh pork should have some marbling of pink and grey to indicate its quality. (Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images)

For many meat lovers, pork pleases. This red meat sports a deep savoury flavour that makes it a standout in myriad dishes. Those conscious about food safety may hesitate to use pork, as confusion surrounds the ways in which its freshness, or lack thereof, is shown. Your eye is an important tool to check if pork is fresh, as is your sense of touch. Refrigerators and freezers have an impact on pork's quality over time.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Examine your pork carefully before purchase. Little fat should coat the surface of the meat, which should feel firm to the touch. Look for cuts that are grey-pink in colour and that display some marbling as well. All meat that you buy should have a sell-buy date, which you should scrupulously heed.

  2. 2

    Determine how long the pork has been in the refrigerator or freezer. Most refrigerators chill food to 4.44 degrees Celsius or lower, which prevents risks of bacteria, but only for a certain amount of time. Ground pork is no longer fresh after a day or two, and other raw pieces of pork are good in the fridge for a maximum of five days. Cooked pork should be stored for three to four days. In the freezer, ground pork is fresh for up to four months, whereas other cuts can store safely for up to six months.

  3. 3

    Look for signs that your meat has expired. The most obvious warning signs include a foul or curious odour, unseemly growths on the meat and a change in colouration. Not all bad pork will exhibit these symptoms, however. You can also touch the pork and feel its texture to verify quality. Poor pork sticks on fingers and feels too soft.

Tips and warnings

  • You don't have to follow the sell-by date to the letter if you freeze your pork right away. The USDA asserts that all foods stay safe while properly frozen.

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