How To Tell If Pork Is Bad (5 Signs It’s Spoiled)

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Pork can be a little confusing if you’re not used to working with fresh meat. On the platter, uncooked, it can appear to be a little gray, while cooked pork may turn pink. So how do you know if fresh pork is bad, and what does bad pork look like?

Spoiled pork may have a sour smell, slimy texture, and grey or green coloring. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to discard the pork immediately. Cooking bad pork will not make it safe. It will increase the unpleasant smell and taste of it and make you sick.

5 Signs That Pork Has Gone Bad

It’s not always easy to tell when pork has gone bad. Here are five signs that will help you determine whether or not the pork in your fridge is still safe to eat.

Pork Smells Sour

Once you’ve got a package of fresh pork open, give it a sniff test to check for a sour or unpleasant odor. If your pork meat is sitting on a soaker pad, you’ll have to remove it because it’s designed to catch juices and will become smelly over time.

It’s not just ribs, roasts, and chops. Sausages should also be checked for a sour odor.

The reason why your meat smells sour is that the meat is breaking down, and bacteria have grown into a large population as the pork spoils. It’s possible for the harmful bacteria on pork to survive cooking, so don’t take any chances!

If your pork smells bad, it might need to go in the trash.

What If pork smells bad but not expired? The only time the odor test may fail you is if your fresh pork is vacuum packed. The encapsulation of liquid around the meat may develop an acidic aroma.

Try placing your smelly pork out on a cutting board and patting it dry with paper towels. The smell should be drastically reduced or go away completely.

I really dislike the idea of rinsing meat, but you could consider rinsing vacuum-sealed pork before sniffing it. Ensure that you keep the splashing down to prevent raw pork juices from contaminating other foods and equipment.

Pork Is Slimy

Just because pork has a slimy film, it doesn’t mean that it’s bad if all the other signs check out okay.

Slimy pork can be the result of the juices in the package or it may feel slimy because of the fat content in the pork. It could also be a lazy butcher who didn’t scrape your chops before packing them. Or it could be that it has spoiled and the proteins in the meat are breaking down.

If your pork has gone bad, it will often be slimy and have a weird smell at the same time. So keep that in mind when you’re examining your meat.

Pork Is Grey

Fresh pork can be grayish pink to the eye if it has been left out, although ideally, it should be pink. Once it’s cooked, the exterior will become gray while the interior pinks up. While beef can be eaten rare, pork should always be cooked thoroughly to prevent foodborne illnesses.

If your raw pork is grey on the inside, it may already be spoiled and ready for the trash can. This can happen if you leave pork out too long on the counter.

Pork Is Green

Sometimes meat can have a bit of a hue to it, but I’m not talking about an iridescent sheen. If your pork has green patches, it is a telltale sign that it is rotten.

Sometimes rotten meat will also show signs of mold in white or green patches, which is just as bad.

There is no salvaging pork that has turned green, not even by cutting it away. If green pork is consumed either raw or cooked, it will make you sick or worse.

Pork Is Past The Use By Date

When it comes to pork, you really need to pay attention to the dates on your meat. Always use your pork well before its expiration date.

Even if your pork isn’t displaying any of the signs above, it doesn’t mean that it’s safe to eat. Dangerous levels of bacteria are likely infested in your pork. Not even the scorching heat from cooking or the cold from freezing will make it safe again.

If you don’t plan on using it for some time, wrap it up and stuff it in the freezer while it’s still fresh. Don’t freeze it on the day that it expires.

Bad Pork FAQs

What Happens If You Eat Bad Pork?

If you’ve eaten bad pork, you may contract a bacterial infection or trichinosis, which can be fatal. Food poisoning symptoms will likely appear within hours but sometimes take 4 to 7 days to appear.

What To Do If You Ate Bad Pork

If you’ve eaten bad pork and start to show symptoms of illness, you should contact your health provider immediately.

What Does Bad Pork Taste Like?

Depending on why your pork is off, it may not taste bad at all. If there is a taste, it will probably be quite unpleasant and smell bad. In either case, it is not safe to consume.

What Does Bad Pork Smell Like?

Fresh pork should not smell like much of anything. If it has an ammonia-like smell or sour odor, don’t use it or buy it. When working out how to tell if pork is bad after cooking, the sour smell will persist and intensify. For example, bad pork chops will smell worse when cooked.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re handling pork loin or ground pork, it’s important to know the signs of bad pork and good pork.

Once you’ve established that your piece of meat is good, you’ll also need to store it properly and pay attention to its shelf life.

In general, it is best to err on the side of caution when handling pork, as it is better to throw out a piece of meat that may be spoiled to avoid food poisoning than to risk making anyone sick.

Written By Tara Williams

Tara is a food writer that has been editing and authoring articles for KitchenSanity since its founding. Her writing offers personal experience from experimentation with food and recipe creation. If you’re looking for simple tips, she will make your journey in the kitchen straightforward with a dash of fun.