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How to Tell If Bacon Is Bad? Try the 4 Ways

Apr 21, 2017

Bacon is one of the most preferred foods among Americans. Fresh bacon is a real delicacy, while when it comes to improperly stored bacon, a person should be concerned and aware of various food-borne illnesses. Improperly stored bacon can easily and quickly get spoiled, becoming a great source of various bacteria such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli, etc. For this reason, knowing how to tell if bacon is safe to eat is very important.

How to Tell If Bacon Is Bad

Check If the Date Has Expired on the Packet

Normally, just with any other foods, if the date on the bacon packet has expired, this bacon is not safe anymore to use. If you are looking the sell-by date, then you should consume your bacon within 7 days after buying it. Make sure not to confuse the expiry date and the sell-by date. In cases of frozen bacon, you can safely consume it within the first four months from freezing.  

Look Close at the Bacon

If you want to tell if your bacon is good or bad, you can just have a close look at it. You will normally need a room with a good light. If your bacon is a pinkish and bright color, then it is healthy and safe to eat. However, if your bacon looks odd and especially if you notice green dots on it, or if it started to turn into a gray-brown color, you better throw that bacon away. Who would want to risk and get a food-borne illness? I wouldn’t.

Smell It

How to tell if bacon is bad? You can just simply smell it. Who does not know the great and delicious smell of bacon? If your bacon smells like a fresh meat, you can normally eat it. However, if the bacon has a wired smell, a sour, rotting or a fish odor, then you should not consume this bacon as it is for sure spoiled. If you have just a small doubt on the bacon, don’t risk it.

Feel It

Good and safe bacon is not slimy. If your bacon is slimy, then it is probably spoiled, and not consumable. You should throw this bacon in the garbage.

How to Throw the Bad Bacon

  • Make sure to through it away in an outside garbage bin as it will smell up your house if you throw it in your indoor trash can.
  • Make sure to wrap the spoiled bacon well before throwing it in the garbage. Wash your hands carefully afterward.
  • Also, don’t give this spoiled bacon to your pets as they can get sick too.

How to Store Bacon Properly

How to tell if bacon is bad? You already know the answer. Any bacon that is sliced and packed in unopened and vacuum sealed packages in the refrigerator can be used up to one week after the date has expired. However, once you opened a pack of bacon, you should consume it within the first 7 days.

You can always freeze your bacon in sealed and unopened packages for a couple of weeks and up to four months. Perhaps, it is a good idea to separate your package of bacon into serving sizes before freezing it, so you can always get the necessary portion of bacon from the freezer, without having the need to unfreeze the entire bacon package. Tightly wrap these serving portions into a plastic wrap and foil it. Make sure to put the date so you know when you have bought the bacon and until when it can be consumed.

If you prefer cooked bacon, you can always keep it for a couple of days in the refrigerator before it gets spoiled. First, cook the bacon, drain it carefully on a paper towel and cool it down. Once the bacon is cooled down, seal it in plastic bags and refrigerate it. You can keep this cooked bacon for about 5 days in your refrigerator without fearing that it has spoiled.

You can also freeze the cooked bacon if you prefer. The bacon needs to be placed into a zip-top bag. You can freeze such bacon for up to 6 weeks.

How to tell if bacon is bad? In the following table you can find storage time and storage methods for specific types of bacon products:

Bacon Product

Pantry

Refrigerator

Freezer

Bacon

Not applicable

1 week

4 months

Beef bacon

Not applicable

1 week

4 months

Salt pork

Not applicable

1 month

4 to 6 months

Pancetta

Not applicable

1 week

4 months

Poultry bacon

Not applicable

1 week

4 months

Canadian sliced bacon

Not applicable

3 to 4 days

4 to 8 weeks

Sliced dry-cured bacon

10 days when not refrigerated

4 weeks

3 months

Slab dry-cured bacon

3 weeks when not refrigerated

4 to 6 weeks

3 months

Cured bacon without nitrites

Not applicable

3 weeks

6 months

Canned bacon

2 to 5 years

3 to 4 days after opening the can

2 to 3 months after opening the can

Bacon bites

Until “sell by” date

6 weeks after opening

1 to 2 months

Soy imitation of bacon bites

4 months

Check the manufacturer storage advice

Not necessary

Baby food with fresh bacon

Until “use by” date

2 to 3 days after opening

1 month

Cooked bacon purchased in a shelf

Until “use by” date

Up to 2 weeks after opening

3 months

Cooked bacon purchased as refrigerated

Until “use by” date

Until “use by” date

3 months

Leftover self-cooked bacon

Not applicable

4 to 5 days

1 month