How to Tell If Pork Is Bad?

May 12, 2023

Pork is delicious, and everyone loves it. However, if you don’t look after it, pork can get spoiled very quickly. Usually, the spoilage of pork happens due to bacteria, and it can bring dangerous health issues to you and your loved ones. So, how to tell if pork is bad? Let’s discuss.

Is Pork Bad For You?

Why pork is bad?  Pork is bad for you because it is red meat, and the reputation of red meat isn’t the greatest. But, there are tons of health benefits of pork as well. So, stay away from excessive consumption; you’ll be fine. 

How to Tell If Pork Is Bad?

Below are some methods to identify spoiled pork.


Bad smell is the easiest method to recognize; bad pork smells like sulfur. The bacteria make drastic changes to pork, and the smell is the first indication that you need to throw it away. 

The vacuum packed pork smell also somewhat similar to that. However, the strange odor of vacuum-packed pork usually goes out when you wash the meat. That said, it is vital to look for the other factors as well before you conclude. 


Discolored pork chops are another major symptom. Fresh pork has a pinkish outlook, and as it starts to worsen, this color dramatically changes within a short period. Yeast, breakdown of protein, and molding are a few of the main reasons for this color change. 

Poor storage and prolong freezing also can have a say in the color fading of pork. Usually, the pork has to be reddish if it is fresh; if you notice gray pork chops, think of it as a serious clue of spoiled pork. 

However, if you store fresh pork chops in fridge for a bit of time and still observe a color change, it doesn’t necessarily suggest that whole meat is inedible. If this is the case with you, peel off the area and see how the rest of the meat would look. If you notice reddish or pinkish meat, there won’t be much of an issue to consume.

When it comes to the color of the fat, it has to be white; nothing else. All in all, we do not recommend eating pork that doesn’t seem safe

The Feel

How to tell if the pork is bad? Use your hands! Yes, this is an excellent old method used by even the most experienced chefs worldwide to tell whether the pork is good or bad. Generally, fresh meat brings a firm feel, and it should be consistent throughout the steak. If you come across many moisture and soften parts, you will have to pay keen attention to reconfirm whether the meat has gone bad. 

On the other hand, super dry pork also is a reason to worry. So, if the situation permits, feel the pork in hand before you buy it. 

Check The Packaging

If you don’t know how long are pork chops good in the fridge or how to tell if pork is bad after freezing or don’t have time to go through manual checking, the easiest way to examine the condition of meat is the “use or freeze by date” on pork packaging. It is a must for the meat manufacturers to reveal those details on the packaging. 

It’s not all about “best by,” “use by,” or “freeze by” date. You must check on the “sell by” date as well. Again and again, we would like to emphasize you never be tempted to consume expired pork. It can bring you dangerous consequences. 

Similarly, if you are a salmon lover, you might like to know about how to salmon go bad?

how to tell if pork is bad, How to tell if raw pork chops are bad, how to tell if pork steaks are bad, How to know if pork is cooked, When is pork fully cooked, how to tell if pork is bad after freezing, how to tell if refrigerated pork is bad

What Does Bad Pork Smell Like?

The bad pork smells fishy, acidic, and ammonia-like. There is nothing wrong with sniffing the meat before you buy, and if you smell anything out of the ordinary or pork smells like barnyard, stay away from it.

How to Tell If Pork Is Bad Color?

Greyish meat is an indication of rotten pork. The fresh pork has reddish or pinkish color; also, it should not smell at the time you purchase. Further, there shouldn’t be much moisture on the surface of the meat. 

How to Tell If Raw Pork Is Bad?

The raw pork does have moisture on it, having said that it shouldn’t be sticky or all slimy. Also, once the meat starts to go bad, it will develop an odor, and the intensity of the odor will grow pretty quickly. This usually happens because of high temperatures. When you allow pork or any other type of meat to temperature over 40°F, the bacteria will start to infiltrate, and recovery from this stage is near impossible. 

Before we jump in to the next, you might interest to know what is the perfect temperature to grill your favorite meat using a gas grill.

How to Tell If Pork Shoulder Is Bad?

The color is the first thing you have to notice. Typically, raw pork shoulders are pinkish, and they can be a little reddish as well. If you see greyish surfaces on the meat, it says the meat has started to get rot or already rotten. Do not buy such meat no matter what; if you have already purchased it, cut through meat and check the inner part.

Sam, one of our colleagues, asked a chef can pork be pink in the middle when it is slightly spoiled on the top, and the chef’s answer was yes. You can get rid of the grayish part and consume the meat as far as the inside of the meat remains fresh and pinkish. 

How to Tell If Ground Pork Is Bad?

According to most experienced professionals, spoiled ground pork smells bad when cooking. It will be a little difficult to notice the color of rotten ground meat compared to bad steak. So, the bad odor is the most prominent indication that the pork is spoiled. However, you will see a slight change in the appearance, and definitely, it will feel slimy on the hand. 

How to Tell If Pork Chops Are Bad? 

The gray surfaces and bad odor are significant signs of bad pork chops. What does raw pork smell like? The smell of bad pork is usually acidic and fishy. If you happen to eat spoiled pork, you could end up with various kinds of health issues. As per medical researches, diarrhea, headaches, vomiting, and abdominal pain are some of the illnesses associated with eating rotten meat.

How to Tell If Canned Pork Is Bad?

If the can is domed, do not buy it as it is a signal that meat is bad inside the container. The can should be flat and not dented. Also, if you notice the meat is gone brownish or black, never try to consume the meat under any circumstance. First, closely look at the outside of the can to see whether it has an abnormal appearance and then check on the color of the meat; simple as that. 

How to Tell If Vacuum Packed Pork Is Bad?

You will have to rinse the meat first to see whether the pork is good or bad. After about 30 minutes, the strange smell of vacuum-packed pork should go away, and the usual color of the meat should return as well.

If it doesn’t happen, and the meat stays brownish or greyish, then there is a considerable chance that pork has gone bad. Also, check on the details mentioned on the package to see whether the meat is within the specified date ranges. 

How to Tell If Pork Tenderloin Is Bad?

It’s the same as the other parts; you have to examine the appearance and the odor. If it is more pinkish and no smell, you are good to go with your steak; that is the recommendation of the expert cooks.

Also, it is easy to monitor the slightest color change compared to other cuts. The odor usually comes with a change of color, and as you would know by now, the rotten pork is greyish and has an acidic smell.

How to Tell If Pork Sausage Is Bad?

Suppose your pork sausages are dulled or have a slimy texture; consider discarding them. Further, bring them to the nose and check if you smell something wrong. Indications of bad sausages are color, odor, and the sticky nature.

How to Tell If Pork Is Bad Before Cooking?

The most obvious indicators of bad pork are smell and color. Other than that, spoiled pork feels soft and tends to stick in hand as well. If you observe anything like that, do not continue with cooking pork.

How to Tell If Pork Is Bad After Cooking?

If you note the growth of mold or horrible smell, do not eat the cooked pork. Also, people who know the subject highlights that pork smells bad when cooking as well. If you have no prior experience about how to tell if pork is bad when cooked, look for unnatural textures and trust your nose!

How Long Does Cooked Pork Last In The Fridge?

Three to four days, according to the USDA. The red meat, including pork, can last well up to four days, and the time goes up to 6 months when stored in a freezer. Do not consume cooked pork after four days (stored in a refrigerator) if you want to stay away from foodborne illnesses. 

How Long Does Pork Last In The Freezer?

According to the FDA, the quality of pork will remain from 4 to 12 months when in a freezer. However, the ground pork should be consumed within four months. Steaks can last from 6 to 12 months if stored properly in a freezer. 

What Is The White Stuff That Comes Out Of Pork Chops?

It is protein and water. There is nothing to worry about, and it is 100% edible. When cooked, it becomes chewy and rubbery. If you don’t like it in your mouth, remove it before you cook. But, again, there is no harm in consuming them. 

Can Pork Be Pink When Fully Cooked?

Yes, it can be pink even if you cooked pork at 145°F and the USDA says it is perfectly OK to eat. This is common for red meat and very much safe as bacteria don’t stand a chance to reach the middle part when cooked. 

What Does Bad Pork Taste Like?

The taste is awful and unpleasant; this is mainly because of boar taint. The smell of cooked bad pork is intense and nasty than the uncooked bad pork. You won’t see much of a difference in the outlook if you cook bad pork, but you can’t get away from the unbearable smell.

When is Pork Fully Cooked?

The recommended internal temperature for pork is 145°F. But, the temperature gets changes depending on the doneness. However, most people prefer 145°F as the roast pork temperature for the maximum flavor. Using a thermometer would help you in this. 

How to Know If Pork Is Cooked?

The best way is to use a thermometer to check the condition of the pork. However, if you have adequate knowledge, you can determine it with the color of the juice that comes out of the meat.
If you are new, use a thermometer to check when pork is done. Some smokers like Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Combo come up with the inbuilt thermometer, so it’s more beneficial to smoke pork lovers.

how to tell if pork is bad, raw pork in fridge for a week, Can pork be pink when fully cooked, Ground pork smells bad when cooking, How Long Are Pork Chops Good in the Fridge?, how to tell if frozen pork is bad, when is pork done

How is Undercooked Pork Appearance?

The outside of the meat looks whiter rather than brown. It might look awesome in the eye and perhaps would seem perfectly cooked. But make no mistake; undercooked meat is harmful to health. Our recommendation is to use a thermometer until you get a proper hold of cooking. 

How to Tell If Refrigerated Pork Is Bad?

Refrigerated cooked pork will last up to four days, and from there onwards, you will gradually see the buildup of mold. Also, you can store raw pork in fridge for a week without much of a problem; this applies to chops, roasts, and steaks. 

Shelf Life of Pork Chops

The shelf life of pork heavily depends on how properly you store it after use. You can keep pork fresh by storing them right after you bring them down to your home. As we mentioned, when stored in a fridge, the raw pork can last up to 7 days.

For those who want to keep pork fresh for extended periods, opting for a freezer would be the ideal choice. In a freezer, pork can retain its quality for up to one year. 

Shelf Life of Pork Sausage

Similar to ordinary pork, you have to store sausage in a fridge for future use. However, you can’t store pork sausages in a refrigerator for too long. The uncooked version of sausages lasts a maximum of two to three days in a fridge.

Also, it is mandatory to check on the “sell-by date” before you buy. The cooked sausages last up to four days, and when kept in a freezer, it remains well for up to 4 months. 

What Happens If You Eat Bad Pork?

Typically the initial symptoms of food poisoning occur within one or two hours after consuming the bad pork. The development of symptoms can stretch even for weeks. Following are the main indicators of food poisoning.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Cramps in stomach
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea

It may take five or six days to recover from the above illnesses, and frankly speaking; you don’t need any treatment to overcome them as well. Resting and water consumption is utterly essential to keep things under control.

However, older adults, pregnant women, and those who are already suffering from other illnesses such as diabetes and kidney disease should get medical help as soon as possible after foodborne illness symptoms.

Strategies to Prevent Pork Spoilage

Here are the steps people and businesses use to prevent meat spoilage.

  • Proper Storage

Poor storage is the main factor for meat spoilage. Simply, you have to keep the temperature as low as possible on meat like pork to preserve them for future use. The bacteria growth stops below 3°C, so make sure you store pork in a fridge or a freezer right after you bring them home.

  • Vacuum Packages

Vacuum packages do not have oxygen in them, and bacteria need oxygen to thrive. This is the reason why vacuum-packed pork tends to last long, and if you can store vacuum-packed meat in a refrigerator, the life span of pork goes up to 100 days.

  • Drying

Drying is another popular way to preserve meat, and it has been there for thousands of years. Dried sausages and freeze-dried meat are two of the most used methods. Also, you can store dried versions of meat under room condition for a considerable time without any issue.

  • Smoking

Smoked pork improves the shelf life of pork as well as the taste and color. Smoking is tailor-made to prevent bacteria growth, which helps to the preservation of the meat. For this, you can use a charcoal smoker or an electric smoker. It is nice to learn the way of using a smoker if you don’t have any idea on how to use an electric smoker.

Wrapping up..

How to tell if raw pork chops are bad, how to tell if pork steaks are bad, how to tell if frozen pork is bad; are the primary questions we intended to answer in this article. Overall, now you should have proper knowledge on how to tell if pork is bad. If you have more questions in this regard, please let us know via a comment. Cheers!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply