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How To Tell If Pork Is Bad

Knowing how to tell if pork is bad before you cook is important to avoid food poisoning. Pork is one of those foods you don’t want to mess around with.

Healthy-looking pork will be pink in color, wet but not slimy, and have no off smell to it.

Make sure that you are storing your pork properly and looking over it very carefully before preparing it.

This will be the difference between a delicious meal that everyone raves about and ending up with bacteria and getting sick.

Before we get into all of that, let’s start with the basics of knowing if your pork is bad first.

How to tell if pork is bad

Pork on a plate

1. How the pork looks

Pork on  plate

When pork is no longer good, you will notice that it is dull in color and can look greyish. The inside might still be pink but once you start seeing any grey or dulling in the color you want to toss it out.

When pork is fresh it will be pink in color a little darker than chicken and lighter than beef. The fat marbling will be white. If it looks yellowish that is another good indicator that it has spoiled.

This goes for pork loins and pork chops and any other pork cuts that you can think of.

2. Smell the pork

smelling pork

Once you open the package you always want to give it the sniff test and see if you smell anything sour. If your pork is still ok then you will have no odor at all.

If you do get an odor you want it to be of a fresh scent, not sour at all. If any scent of ammonia, or an unpleasant or sour odor, you should not cook your pork.

3. How the pork feels

feeling pork on a plate

When you buy pork and take it out of the package you might notice that it is a little wet to the touch. This is perfectly normal.

However, if you feel that it is slimy then your pork is bad and can make you sick if you consume it. Other indicators that it has gone by are if it is dry or mushy.

It should not be sticky to the touch. Fresh pork should be a little wet and firm to the touch. Much like chicken breast.

Being that bacon is also pork there are similarities with bad bacon, learn more about how to tell if bacon is bad.

What happens if you cook bad pork?

Bad pork does not become good after you cook it. If it is spoiled before you cook it, then it is still spoiled after you cook it.

Cooking the pork it is a pork loin or pork chop or bacon is not going to make it any safer to eat than before it was cooked.

Spoiled meat needs to be discarded, do not mess with it. It is better to safe than sorry, you could get really sick.

Before cooking your pork it is important to look it over very carefully. Starting with the sell-by date on the package. With pork, you have 3-5 days from the sell-by date to cook your pork before it spoils.

Also, learn how to tell if ground pork is bad.

Pork is known to have larvae from a species of worms in it, so it is important to always cook pork to a minimum of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid foodborne illness.

Trust your senses and do not eat any pork with these characteristics. These attributes also go for leftover pork as well. Leftover pork will last you 2-3 days if you have stored it properly.

Best way to store pork so it does not go bad

It is important to handle your pork or any other meat for that matter, in specific ways to prevent it from going bad. I will give you a few tips to make sure your pork lasts a bit longer.

  • Store pork in your refrigerator asap after you purchase it from a butcher or the grocery store.
  • Store the pork in an air-tight container to prevent spoilage and bacteria from getting to the pork.
  • You can freeze your pork to get a longer life from it. This does not extend the length that it is good for after it is defrosted.
  • It is important to keep as cold as possible during the entire time it is processed to the point that you cook it.

The pork smells bad but it’s not expired

It is really important to not focus just on the date of the package that your pork has come in. There are so many things that come into place to know if the pork has gone bad.

Maybe it has not been kept cold during the entire chain from when the animal was slaughtered all the way to the time that you purchased it from a butcher or a grocery store.

If you have purchased the pork from a grocery store and you think it could have been bad since it was purchased, there is a good chance they will give you your money back.

In the end, you can not trust the dates, you want to follow the steps provided in this post… if it smells bad you need to toss it!

If you’re evaluating the quality of pork, it’s helpful to know that the same principles apply to lamb. Detecting a sour or rancid smell, a sticky or slimy texture, or any abnormal coloration are all indications that the lamb has spoiled and should not be consumed.

Frequently Asked Questions for Bad Pork

If you eat bad pork you are likely to get a foodborne illness called Trichinosis. This will result in stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or chills.

You have to be careful with pork especially as it is invested with particular worm larvae that will get you very sick. Make sure that your pork is still good before cooking it.

Signs of bad pork are dull grey in color, bad odor or sour smell, and if is mushy or slimy at all. It’s best to throw it away if you are in question with any of these.

Properly stored pork is good in the fridge for 2-4 days generally. Of course, there are many factors to take into account before cooking pork.

Check the date on the package, give it the sniff test, look at the color of your pork, and lastly make sure that it isn’t slimy at all.


Identifying bad pork is a crucial step in ensuring the safety and quality of your meals. By looking for changes in color, checking for a slimy texture, and smelling for any off-putting odors, you can prevent potential foodborne illnesses.

Always remember, when in doubt about the freshness of your pork, it’s safer to discard it.

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