Turkey Smells Bad
Food Preparation,  Pork,  Shopping For Meat

Pork Smells Bad – Is It Safe To Eat?

Sometimes pork can have a smell to it that makes you consider whether it is safe to eat, or whether it has gone bad.

So how do you tell if pork is bad? Fresh pork should have a white fat covering and pink flesh with little to no smell. If the fat is yellow looking, and the meat is turning grey, then the meat is starting to spoil. If the meat is sticky to the touch or has an off putting smell, then it should not be eaten as it has spoiled.

This article will explain when the pork can be saved and is safe to eat, and when you should not take any chances and throw the meat away, and how to prevent your pork from reaching this point.

What Fresh Pork Looks Like

Fresh Pork Is Pink In Color
Fresh Pork is Pink with White Fat and Little Smell

Fresh pork should should have the following characteristic’s:

  • Light to Darkish Pink Flesh
  • Bright White Fat
  • Moist Sheen but not Sticky or Slimy
  • Little to no smell
  • Dry Clean Skin / Crackling

A cut of fresh pork will look fresh and inviting. You will want to eat it.

The flesh may be a light to darker shade of pink, and the fat will be a bright white.

If the skin is still on the pork, it will be dry to the touch, and there will be little to no smell from the meat.

Some pork taken from older animals, or sows, may have a slight ‘piggy’ smell, but it will not smell bad!

Pork that is fresh like this will last a couple of days in the refrigerator, and can be cooked how you like it without any real issues. Fresh pork roasts, chops and steaks can now be safely consumed medium rare if that is how you like it.

Related Article: Medium Rare Pork Is Safe To Eat

What Pork That Is Going Bad Looks Like

When pork is no longer at its freshest, it starts to change in appearance.

Pork that is turning bad will have the following characteristic’s:

  • Flesh Turning Grey in Color
  • Fat Turning Yellow in Color
  • Pork May Be Dull or Drying Out
  • Fat May Be Getting Slightly Sticky

When pork is showing these signs of age, it is still safe to eat, but is getting to the end of it’s useable life and so should be cooked and eaten right away. Harmful spoilage bacteria may have started to grow on the meat, and so extra care should be taken when cooking.

When pork has gone past its freshest, it is important to cook it to a minimum internal temperature of 160oF/72oC. This will ensure that any harmful bacteria that may have been present on the meat has been destroyed, making it safe to eat.

What Spoiled Pork Looks Like

When pork has reached the point where it should not be eaten, it will show the following characteristic’s:

  • Dark Grey Flesh
  • Yellow Discolored Fat
  • Sticky or Slimy to the touch
  • Offensive Smell
  • May Have Build Up of Paste Like Substance
  • May Show Signs of Mold Spores
Spoiled Meat Will Look Brown or Grey and Will Feel Slimy or Sticky

Once pork starts to exhibit any of these signs, it has gone beyond the aged stage, and has actually started to turn rotten.

Cooking this pork will not only smell disgusting, it will also taste horrible, and could make you sick.

If you have the misfortune to allow your pork to reach this stage, the only recommended course of action is to Throw It Away!

Although it may feel like a waste of money, it is not worth the risk of getting food poisoning – believe me!

How To Prevent Pork From Going Bad

Here are some tips on how you can stop your pork from reaching the point that you need to throw it away.

Buy Fresh

When you are buying your pork, always be sure to purchase meat that shows the characteristic’s mentioned above in the fresh pork section.

Avoid buying any pork that is already showing signs of age – unless it is at a good reduced price and you plan to cook it right away!

Shopping Tip: Make fresh meat the last items you pick up before you go to the checkouts. This will stop the meat getting warm in your trolley as you browse the aisles. Then put the meat in bags with any frozen purchases which will act as cooler blocks for the trip home.

Store It Properly

Fresh meat should be stored in the bottom of the refrigerator at a minimum of 40oF/5oC or colder

If the pork is vacuum packed, then it will have a longer shelf life than pork that is wrapped in plastic.

Pork wrapped in plastic would be better opened and allowed to air.

Be sure that your pork does not drip onto anything else in the refrigerator as this could cause cross contamination.

Plan Your Meals

Planning your meals will allow you to know that you will use the pork before it begins to spoil. Make sure you plan ahead for any possible leftovers, so these get used up too.

Freeze Right Away

If you are buying your shopping for the week, and don’t plan on using the pork right away, drop it into your freezer until the day before you do need it.

When you defrost the pork, make sure it is thawed in the refrigerator and not on the counter top!

Cook It Early!

If you have pork in the refrigerator and you are not able to freeze it, or use it right away for your meal plans, go ahead and cook it anyway.

By cooking the meat you are giving it another few days of life, rather than it spoiling beyond the point of no return.

Related Article: Does Cooking Meat Extend The Expiration Date?