Last updated on October 26th, 2022 at 05:20 pm
Many consider refrigerators a safe place to store raw, uncooked food and cooked food, including meat.
It has become a common practice as they don’t only save us from running to the grocery store every day but ensure food is available almost every time.
Imagine you bought a chunk of pork for a meal but don’t use it all. The solution is to store it in a fridge, but how long can it stay there without spoiling, a week?
Refrigerators are suitable for storing food and keeping bacteria away but only to a considerable extent. All refrigerating does is slow down the work of pathogenic bacteria, but it doesn’t completely keep it away. Hence, the best time frame for storing raw pork is around three to five days. Leaving it for longer is unhealthy unless when frozen.
Raw Pork Chops in Fridge for a Week
Raw pork chops are sliced into pieces different from a whole chunk of meat but are also to be stored in refrigerators for three to five days.
This means you have no guarantee of the meat staying good during a week.
Pork comes from pigs and harbors certain harmful bacteria, making it exponentially more vulnerable to decay.
Keeping raw pork chops for more than five days at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, the average temperature for a refrigerator will only slow down deterioration.
And pork isn’t the type of meat you’d feel safe eating when it’s past recommended safety period.
It doesn’t matter if it is raw pork, uncooked pork chops, or raw ground pork; you shouldn’t leave them longer than necessary in the fridge.
Ground pork can only be preserved for two days maximum; after that, it will begin to decay. The decay might be subtle, initially making you believe it is still good.
But when you notice any changes, no matter how little, it is best to dispose of them.
Cooking or frying it won’t make any difference except worsening the unpleasant smell and taste.
How Long Can You Leave Raw Pork Belly in the Fridge?
Like other pork meat, the uncooked belly can only last three to five days when refrigerated.
But remember that pork belly contains extra fat than other areas, which also counts as lipid.
And lipid oxidation(reaction between fat and oxygen that causes degradation) is a primary non-microbial reason for meat decay.
So if you may leave raw pork chops for over five days in your fridge and still consider them safe (which is still unhealthy), you shouldn’t do that with uncooked pork belly.
They contain more fat and have a higher chance of deterioration than other parts of pork meat.
Below are some tips to help you store your raw meat better in refrigerators.
- Avoid opening your fridge constantly, mainly during humid weather, as this allows warm air to enter, resulting in ice loss and meat spoilage.
- Ensure to clean your fridge frequently to reduce the meat’s odor. Also, dispose of decayed food immediately to avoid spoiling your fridge’s smell and extending the decay to other meat and food content.
- Keep raw meat in the bottom area of your fridge to prevent the juice from dripping down and contaminating other food in your fridge. And if you wish to thaw any meat, take it away from the other pork meats to prevent the warm air from spreading to others.
- Following the recommended raw meat storage period may be helpful, but please ensure to use them quickly to be on the safe side. And ensure to follow the “first in, first out” method. Whichever meat you store first should be used first to lessen the decay period.
Can I Eat Pork That’s Been in the Fridge for a Week?
Generally, cooked and uncooked pork have set storage limits that would be unsafe to ignore.
You can only store cooked pork for four days and raw pork for five days maximum.
This implies that eating pork that has been refrigerated for a week is unhealthy.
As mentioned earlier, don’t exclusively depend on recommended refrigerating periods.
If your raw meat smells unpleasant after taking it out of the refrigerator, even on the fifth day, don’t eat it.
Fresh pork shouldn’t have any bad smell from the day of purchase till when you take it out of the fridge, so stick to the early parts of the refrigerating storage days.
They are only estimates and could be wrong sometimes.
Due to this, you should ensure that whatever meat you store in your fridge is meat that you will be using very soon, like two or three days.
And if you hold them longer, it should be because they’re stored in a freezer. It is safe to freeze pork for three months or more.
The FDA recommends four to six months, but some research and experiments have shown that three months might be better because it retains its flavor and texture.
Check for any signs of deterioration before eating in cases of stored cooked pork.
Many rely entirely on color to determine spoiled meat but remember that can be tricky.
An outright purple or reddish-brown doesn’t always mean it’s gone bad, as it could be the meat’s myoglobin’s reaction with oxygen causing the slight color change.
But if it’s gray or greenish, it is rotten. You can also confirm this by feeling its texture for any slime and perceiving its smell to determine if it has a foul odor.
Is It Safe to Eat a Raw Pork That Has Been Refrigerated for 7 Days?
Eating raw pork meat past the recommended refrigerating storage days is unsafe.
Since they’ve not been frozen, you don’t have any guarantee they’ll maintain their freshness after seven days of storage.
Eating food past two to five days increases the likelihood of food poisoning resulting from the harmful pathogenic bacteria that grow on the meat.
Refrigerating is only a short preservation method, so only freeze pork for three months and above but don’t leave them for too long, over eight months.
Refrigerating slows down the growth of bacteria, but that action isn’t indefinite, as the cold from the regular fridge isn’t enough to keep them away for an extended period.
Due to that, you will experience the consequence of eating that bad meat. It could start with stomach cramps and progress to fever, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea in some cases.
Below is a table that shows the temperature for storing different types of pork meat in the fridge and freezers and their storage period.
|Meat type||Fridge storage period (40 °F or below)||Freezer storage period (0° F)|
|Raw pork meat||Three to five days||Four to six months|
|Raw pork chops||Three to five days||Four to six months|
|Cooked pork||Three to four days||Two to three months|
|Raw Ground Pork||One to two days||Three to four months|
|Roasted Pork||Three to four days||Four to six months|
Note: While frozen meat is safe over long periods, they experience flavor and texture rancidity most times.
So ensure to only store pork meats as long as you’ll be using them soon. If they stay for too long or about nine months to a year, ensure to discard them.
What Happens When We Store Raw Pork in Fridge for a Week?
Storing raw pork in refrigerators for a week will cause them to spoil as it extended beyond the safety storage limit.
They’ll turn dull and have a grayish or green look. You’ll also notice a foul smell and slimy, dry, or mushy texture.
You shouldn’t consume them at this point as they’ve become highly rancid, and cooking them won’t improve the situation.
Refrigerating raw ground pork or pork chops is one of the best preservation methods for leftover or yet-to-use food.
However, ensure to employ good refrigerating habits to avoid meat and money wastage.
Only keep them as long as they can last. Finally, confirm when you’ll need the meat again to determine if refrigerating or freezing is a better option.