Are you a fan of pork? Do you often buy it in bulk to save money?
If so, you may have wondered how long thawed pork can stay in the fridge before it goes bad. It’s important to know the answer to this question to avoid any potential health risks.
In this article, we’ll explore the safe duration of thawed pork in the fridge and whether or not you can refreeze it after thawing.
So, let’s dive in and learn more about how to properly store and handle pork to ensure its freshness and safety.
How Long Can Pork Stay In The Fridge After Thawing?
When it comes to thawed pork, it’s important to keep it refrigerated at all times to prevent bacterial growth. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, thawed pork can safely remain in the fridge for up to five days.
It’s important to note that this five-day period starts from the moment the pork is fully thawed in the fridge. If you’re unsure about how long the pork has been in the fridge, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it.
Additionally, if you’ve thawed pork in the microwave or using the cold water method, it’s important to cook it immediately after thawing. This is because some areas of the meat may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving, and any bacteria present wouldn’t have been destroyed.
The Importance Of Properly Storing Thawed Pork
Properly storing thawed pork is crucial to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses. Once pork has been thawed, it should be kept in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F or below.
It’s important to store the pork in a way that minimizes the risk of cross-contamination with other foods. Raw pork should be stored on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, away from ready-to-eat foods like fruits, vegetables, and cooked meats. This will prevent any juices from the raw pork from dripping onto other foods and potentially contaminating them.
When storing thawed pork, it’s also important to keep it in a sealed container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to prevent air and moisture from getting in. This will help preserve the quality of the meat and prevent it from drying out or becoming freezer burned.
If you’re not planning on using the thawed pork within five days, it’s best to freeze it to extend its shelf life. However, it’s important to note that refreezing thawed pork can affect its texture and quality, so it’s best to only do this if absolutely necessary.
Signs Of Spoiled Pork
It’s important to know the signs of spoiled pork to prevent foodborne illness. The first sign to look out for is a sour or unpleasant odor. If the pork smells off or has a strong, pungent odor, it’s likely spoiled and should be discarded immediately.
Another sign of spoiled pork is a change in color. Fresh pork is typically pink or light red in color, but if it appears dull or grayish, it may be spoiled. Additionally, if there are any green or blue spots on the meat, this is a clear indication that it has gone bad.
Finally, pay attention to the texture of the pork. If it feels slimy or sticky to the touch, this is a sign that bacteria have started to grow on the meat. Fresh pork should feel firm and dry.
If you notice any of these signs when handling thawed pork, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it. Consuming spoiled pork can lead to food poisoning and other health issues. Always prioritize food safety when handling and storing raw meat.
Can You Refreeze Thawed Pork?
If you’ve thawed pork in the fridge and can’t use it right away, you can safely refreeze it, whether it’s been cooked or not. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there may be a slight loss of quality due to the moisture lost through thawing.
According to the USDA guidelines, meat should be thawed in the refrigerator and never at room temperature. If you thawed your pork in the fridge, you can refreeze it as long as it hasn’t been sitting in the fridge for too long after it thawed. The longer the thawed meat sits, the longer bacteria has to form on it. If the pork has been in the fridge for more than five days since it was fully thawed, it’s best to discard it instead of refreezing.
It’s important to note that if you’ve left your thawed pork out at room temperature for more than two hours, or one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees, you should not refreeze it. In fact, pork that has been left out for an extended period of time shouldn’t be eaten at all.
Tips For Properly Storing And Handling Pork
Properly storing and handling pork is crucial for preventing contamination and ensuring food safety. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Refrigerate or freeze pork immediately after bringing it home: As soon as you bring pork home from the grocery store, refrigerate or freeze it immediately. Never leave the meat in a hot car or sitting out at room temperature.
2. Keep pork below 40°F during storage: Store uncooked pork items together, separate from cooked foods. Packaged whole cuts of fresh pork may be refrigerated in their original wrapping in the coldest part of the refrigerator up to four or five days after purchase, while ground pork can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.
3. Organize your fridge shelves by cooking temperature: Keep food items that require the most cooking at the bottom. For example, most cuts of pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F, while ground pork should be cooked to 155°F.
4. Use separate knives and chopping boards for raw and ready-to-eat foods: Avoid cross-contamination by using separate utensils and equipment for raw pork and other foods.
5. Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling raw pork: Before and after handling raw pork, wash your hands thoroughly with soapy, hot water. Do not touch your face or other body parts while handling raw pork.
6. Clean work area, cutting boards, and utensils with hot soapy water: After being exposed to raw pork, thoroughly clean all surfaces, utensils, and equipment with hot soapy water before using them for other foods.
7. Cover cuts or wounds on hands with waterproof dressings or plastic gloves: Cuts or wounds on hands should be properly covered before handling raw pork.
8. Freeze pork if not planning to cook within four days after purchase: Freeze whole cuts of fresh pork separately in foil or freezer bags before freezing, and label for ease in selecting just the right number of cuts to thaw for a single meal.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your pork stays fresh and safe to eat for as long as possible.