There are several reasons why pork has earned its place as the animal protein that we consume the most. It is a lean meat and so this appeals to people who want to consume a healthy diet. It is also very versatile and can be used in a whole range of different dishes.
Wondering how to tell if pork is bad is a legitimate concern, but it is one that can be addressed fairly easily. Some of the best ways to tell if pork is spoiled are listed below.
How to tell if pork is bad?
How Does It Smell?
One of the easiest ways to tell if pork is bad is to smell it. If the meat has been infiltrated by bacteria,then it will change structurally and chemically.
The more that the pork is attached by the bacteria, the faster that degradation will take place. This degradation will cause a change in the smell of the pork before it is cooked. The types of smell can vary from something resembling ammonia to something that it more like sulfer. Either way you should be able to tell that something is not right.
If your pork is vacuum packed, then it may also smell strange when you take it out of the packaging. However, this smell will disappear as soon as the meat has been washed. If the pork is bad, then the smell will remain even if it is washed.
How Does It Feel?
Chefs all over the world use their sense of touch to determine if meat has gone bad.
When meat is fresh then it should be firm to the touch. If you press down on it, then it should be consistently firm.
The other thing to look out for is the level of moisture. You should not have anything that is at the extreme end of the scale. If you press down on the meat and there is a lot of excess water, then this could indicate the pork is bad. On the other hand, you do not want a situation where there is no moisture and the pork feels dry and sticky to the touch.
Has It Changed Color?
The fact that the meat has changed color is not on its own anything to be concerned about. However, if you already have concerns about the smell and texture, and it has changed color as well, then this may indicate that there is a problem.
If the pork has changed color due to spoilage then it will often be either a fading or a darkening.
What Is The Packaging Like?
There may be clues about the condition of the pork that you can get from the packaging. One important thing to remember is that the meat should always be consumed by the use by date.
The best time to use the pork is the day that it has been purchased. If you cannot use it that day, then it can be kept in the fridge for three days, or until the use by date, whichever is first.
Pork freezes well and as long as it is used within three months of being frozen, you should not notice any difference in the quality. After this time there will be some decline in the quality of the meat, and this could be noticeable in the taste.
The best way to store pork in the freezer is to use the plastic freezer bags that close with a zipper. Write the date of freezing on the front of the bag so that you know when it has to be used by.
Storing Pork Safely
There are many different varieties of pork and they all have different rules for being stored safely. It is worth familiarising yourself with these rules so that you don’t spoil the meat accidentally.
If pork has not been cooked, then roasts can be kept in the freezer for up to twelve months and chops for up to six months.
If it has been cooked, then the FDA recommends that it is not kept for longer than three months, regardless of the cut.
Pork that has been smoked or processed will start to degrade in quality after it has been frozen longer than two months. This includes products such as sausage, ham, hot dogs and bacon.
The most likely reason for pork being spoiled is that it has not been handled properly during the process of getting it ready to be sold. This could be during slaughter, storage or transportation of the meat.
There could also be a problem with the way the meat is handled or stored when you get it home which could lead to it becoming spoiled.
If frozen meat is not thawed out properly, then there is a chance that the meat could turn bad. If thawing is done correctly, then this helps to keep you safe from the danger of eating meat that has been contaminated in some way.
There is more chance that bacteria will start to multiply within the meat if it is stored at a high temperature. The pork should not be stored anywhere with a temperature that is higher than 40 degrees.
This is the reason why it is always recommended that pork is stored in the fridge until it is ready to be used. If it is kept at room temperature for too long, then the likelihood is that it will have to be thrown away.
There is a real chance that you could get food poisoning from eating pork that has been spoiled. This is why it is so important to carry out the checks that have been described above. Use your senses to smell, touch and observe the color of the meat.
If you have any doubts about the quality of your pork, then the best thing to do is just to throw it away. While it can be annoying to have to pay again to purchase a replacement, it is a better alternative than the suffering and expense that a bout of food poisoning can bring.