Skip to Content

How To Tell if Pork Is Bad

How To Tell if Pork Is Bad

Whether you are cooking pork shoulder or reheating pork tenderloin, pork is a tasty, delicious source of protein.

However, pork can spoil quickly, just like shrimp, bacon, and salmon.

But how do you tell if pork is bad? Read on to find out.

What Happens if You Eat Bad Pork?

No one likes to waste food. As a kid, I’m sure your parents told you about starving people in different parts of the world when you couldn’t finish your food.

Furthermore, you may not have backup meat in the fridge to act as the protein for the meal you are cooking.

Although these seem like fine reasons to consume spoiled meat in the grand scheme of things, eating spoiled meat is not worth it.

No amount of reasoning will seem justifiable when you are stricken with pain caused by food poisoning.

Moreover, you do not want to make your family and friends sick either.

Bacteria can spread bacteria, and with bacteria comes toxins.

Even though you can neutralize the bacteria by cooking it, the toxins within the meat may not be destroyed by the cooking process.

Furthermore, the pork could also be tainted with worm larva that can cause foodborne illness.

Do not consume spoiled meat. If you consume spoiled pork, you will likely develop a type of food poisoning called Trichinosis.

You may experience symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea. Make sure your pork is still good before you cook it.

Remember, no one wants to be sick, so don’t eat bad pork.

How To Store Pork

Storing pork is essential if you want to keep it fresh for as long as possible.

If you pick up meat from your local grocery store or butcher, it is usually in a sealed package and can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

However, if the pork is on display and the butcher packages the meat in front of you, it might be best to repackage it using a vacuum sealerif you do not intend to cook it the same day.

Place your pork in the bottom of the refrigerator away from leftovers air ready to eat foods.

If you place the pork on top of these foods, the pork’s juices could drip onto them and contaminate them.

Additionally, place the pork into a container to prevent cross-contamination.

If you do not intend to cook the pork right away, wrap it with freezer-safe plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing the pork into a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag.

Label the pork with the date so you can know when it was frozen. Once the pork is placed in the freezer, it has a shelf life of 3 months.

How To Tell if Pork Is Bad

Before you cook your pork, it is essential you give it a once over.

This will prevent you from cooking bad pork. Once the pork is good to go, make sure you cook it to 145°F.


Pork that is spoiled will have a dull gray color. While the pork’s interior may appear pink, the minute you notice grey or the pork starts to lose its bright pink color, throw it away.

In contrast, fresh pork has a bright pink color that is slightly darker than chicken and slightly lighter than beef.

Fresh pork also has white marbling. If the pork has yellow marbling is probably spoiled.

Smell Test

The sensory system is an amazing girt. Your senses can literally tell you if pork is bad.

Once you open your pork, smell it. If the pork has a sour, unpleasant, strong smell, it is spoiled.

If your pork smells like ammonia or bleach, do not cook it; toss it in the trash. Fresh pork should have little to no odors.


Your fingers are also an excellent way to tell if pork is spoiled.

Although some people do not like touching raw meat with tier bare hands, your fingers are the best tools for this

task. Have you ever noticed how fresh pork has a little moisture when you take it out of the package? A little moisture on the surface of the pork is ok.

However, when your pork starts to feel slimy and sticky, the pork is probably spoiled and should be tossed. In addition to this, if the pork feels dry it mushy, it is also bad.

Do not eat pork as it can make you very sick. In addition to this, wash your hands really well with soap and water after touching the pork.

Remember, fresh pork should feel like a chicken breast, firm to the touch, and a little moist.

Expiration Date

Every pre-packaged container of pork has an expiration date.

These dates may be labeled ad best-by, use-by, enjoy-by, best-before, freshest-by, or expires on with the date printed next to it or underneath it.

Check the expiration date, and if the pork is expired, do not consume it.

Puffy Packaging

Sometimes, you do not even need to open your container of pork to tell that it is spoiled.

If the pork’s packaging has puffed up, bacteria have started to multiply on the surface of the meat.

As more and more bacteria develop, gases will also develop, which will cause the porks packaging to puff up.

In addition to this, how the pork was processed can also contribute to the package swelling.

It may be best to remove the packaging and give the pork the smell test to confirm your suspicions.

Again, if the pork has a rancid smell, discard it immediately.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, safety comes first when it comes to determining if pork is good or bad. Rely on your senses. It is the best way to tell if pork is bad.

If your pork does not pass any of the smell, touch, and color tests, throw it away. If your pork is past its expiration date, throw it away.

Do not consume bad pork. Food posioining is no joke. You will wish you never ate the bad pork if you do.

Remember, you can always buy more pork, but you can’t buy another stomach.

You might also be interested in: