How to Tell if Pork is Bad [Definitive Guide]

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Pork is an excellent source of protein and can be delicious if stored and prepared properly.

But as with any other meat, it is a high-risk food for spoilage and we all know that eating bad pork can make you very sick.

So how do you tell if the pork in your fridge is still good?

How to Tell if Pork is Bad?

Start by checking the sell-by-date. Pork has around 3-5 days from the sell-by-date before it spoils. 

Pork can also have larvae from a species of warm, meaning you should cook it to at 145°F (63°C) to avoid illness.

There are also some characteristics you should look at in pork to determine whether it’s bad or not. These are listed below.


When fresh, the pork meat is pink in color.

When the pork is beginning to spoil, a dull, greyish color will replace the pink. There may still be pink inside, but if there is any sort of greying or dulling of color, it’s best to throw the pork away.

The fat marbling is white when fresh and will turn yellowish when spoiling. This is another good indicator.

This is the same for all types of pork cuts like pork loins and pork chops.


You should give your pork a smell as soon as you open the packaging. It should have no odor at all if fresh.

If you smell anything sour or unpleasant, you should throw it out. This smell is like an ammonia smell. 


Pork will be a little wet to touch out of the packaging. This is normal. It should be a little wet and firm when touching, similar to that of chicken breast.

If it is spoiling then it will feel slimy, but can also feel dry or mushy. If pork has gone bad, then eating it will make you sick.

How to Tell if Cooked Pork is Bad?

Cooked pork will last for three to five days in the refrigerator.

If you notice that it has begun to smell unpleasant or if there is any visible mold growth, then dispose of the pork immediately.

How to Tell if Raw Pork is Bad?

The acidic, ammonia-like smell of bad raw pork will let you know if the meat has spoiled.

Don’t be afraid to sniff the package or ask the butcher if you can examine the meat up close before you buy it.

If the meat is grayish-pink and has no discernible odor, then you know it’s fresh and good to eat.

When transporting the pork home, make sure that it stays cold so that it won’t have a chance to spoil.

Any time pork or any other meat is in the ‘temperature danger zone’ (40-140℉), bacteria and other dangerous microorganisms have the perfect conditions to grow and multiply.

How to Tell if Pork is Bad After Cooking?

Pork that began to spoil while it was still raw will smell even more sour and unpleasant if it is cooked.

If the pork smells at all “off” while still raw, then don’t waste your time trying to cook it!

The only time this sniff test might fail you is if the pork has been vacuum sealed and the accumulation of water around the pork has begun to develop an acidic smell.

If this is the case, give the pork a thorough rinse in cold water and see if the smell disappears.

If the smell persists, then you should toss the pork out and not waste your time cooking it.

How Long Are Pork Chops Good in the Fridge?

If you brought home good quality pork, it should last in the fridge for three to five days.

As with most fresh meats, the sooner you can use it up, the better. Try it as part of this easy roasted pork tenderloin or slow cooker fiesta pulled pork 

Make sure that your fridge is at or below 40℉ so that the pork stays appropriately cold.

How Long Does Cooked Pork Last in the Fridge?

Once cooked, pork will last another three to five days in the refrigerator. Always keep cooked pork at or below 40℉. If the cooked pork begins to smell bad or if there is any visible mold growth, then toss out the pork.

What is the White Stuff that Comes Out of Pork Chops?

Sometimes when you cook pork chops and some other meats, you will notice a white substance, almost like egg whites, seeping out of the meat.

This is just a mixture of protein and water that has separated from the meat and begun to coagulate as it cooks.

The white stuff might be visually unappealing, but it doesn’t affect the flavor or quality of the meat.

Some cooks think that this problem is exacerbated by cooking the pork too quickly on too high of a heat. Reverse searing may be a useful way to rectify this problem.

By more slowly bringing the meat up to temperature in the oven before pan-searing it, the proteins don’t denature and coagulate in the same way.

How to Tell If Pork is Done?

Pork is done when its interior temperature reaches at least 145℉. Depending on the food safety regulations in your country or workplace, you may also see recommendations to cook the pork to an internal temperature of 155℉.

When taking the meat’s temperature, make sure to insert the thermometer into the thickest portion while avoiding any bones. Once the internal temperature has reached a steady 145℉, you know that the pork is done.

How Long Does Pork Last in the Freezer?

Pork has a similar shelf life to other meats when properly stored in the freezer. If kept in an airtight container at or below 0℉, pork will last for 4 to 12 months.

To Sum Up

While bad pork can be dangerous to consume, it is fortunately fairly easy to tell if your pork has gone bad.

You know what the delicious scent of freshly cooked pork chops smells like, and you know to be suspicious of anything that smells “off” from that.

If the pork has any kind of unpleasant scent, if it smells sour or ammonia-like, then you know it’s no longer good to eat.