bacon with black specks? Safe?
August 22, 2011 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Can I eat this bacon? picture I'm concerned about the black specks in the fat. Safe or not, what is it?

The bacon's temperature has been carefully controlled. It smells beautiful. The specks don't really look threatening, but I'm not familiar with such specks in my bacon-eating experience.
posted by stuart_s to Food & Drink (20 answers total)
I'm wary of the parasite-friendly nature of pork meat, so I'd probably cut out the sections of fat with the spots before cooking. Not sure what to advise beyond that.
posted by batmonkey at 6:58 PM on August 22, 2011

If you eat it in it's current state it will make you sick.

Immerse in simmering oil or pan-fry to a crisp and it probably won't kill you.... this time.

If it does, or anything else adverse happens to you, I told you so: You're gonna die someday anyway, why not eating bacon?
posted by carsonb at 6:59 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

I don't know if it's safe, but as soon as I saw your bacon I was reminded of this question from a year ago. There was no definitive "these spots are caused by such and such" answer, but the general consensus was not to eat it. It's a tough call. I would probably cut the fat/black spots out and eat the rest of it, but it's up to you.

If you decide to eat it and it ends up killing you, can I have your dog? She's adorbs.
posted by phunniemee at 7:05 PM on August 22, 2011

I'm almost always in the Eat It camp.

I would not eat that bacon unless I were literally starving.
posted by Netzapper at 7:05 PM on August 22, 2011

Trim it off, cook on both sides, and eat the bacon. I've cut mould, green tinted meat and edges of mush off bacon and it has always been fine. I have done this because every time my bacon looks weird, I ask Twitter. Americans scream DON'T EAT IT! and everyone in Ireland says "Sure it'll be grand." And it is.

Bacon has an assload of nitrates and preservatives, plus is mostly surface area exposed to high heat in cooking. My threshold for "don't eat it" is really high for bacon.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:10 PM on August 22, 2011 [7 favorites]

American agreeing with DarlingBri. It just looks like normal bacon. Trim the black spots if you're concerned, cook and eat. I've eaten bacon that looks like that many times, and haven't ever gotten sick.
posted by nangar at 7:26 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

It could also be a pre-slaughter bruise, which is more common than it ought to be. I too would cut it off and eat the rest.

But if you're worried, take it back to wherever you bought it. I'm sure they'll give you an exchange or refund. It's just bacon, it's not worth losing sleep over.
posted by ErikaB at 7:53 PM on August 22, 2011

Another American agreeing that you should just cut off the suspect bits and then cook and eat the rest. We've done the same many a time.
posted by gudrun at 7:59 PM on August 22, 2011

I think the black bits will fry off because they are in the fat portion, so you are probably okay. Or trim it - and then eat it! Preferably very crispy, still hot, on peanut butter toast. Yes, way.

That said, unless it cost a crazy amount of money, I am often in the "don't eat it!" camp. Have you had food poisoning? If you have, you know already that the x amount of money you will lose by tossing the bacon (or old egg, or weird take out soup you forgot in the back of the fridge) is nothing - you'd pay one million times that amount to be assured your body won't ever do again what it did the last time you guessed, gambled and lost.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 8:07 PM on August 22, 2011

I think it depends on how squeamish you are. My guess would be that the black specks won't hurt you but ... black specks! In meat! If it were me I would spend many an unhappy hour afterwards focused inward, trying to see if I could feel those squidgey little bastards hatching and squirming their way into my own more well-marbled parts ... It just wouldn't be worth it.

Throw the bacon out and go play with your dog. Clearly she needs you to not be full of squidgey bacon creatures.
posted by DingoMutt at 8:25 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

You know, when I saw the similar-looking bacon from last year, my first thought was, "I wonder if a semi-healed injury to a fatty area of the pig would cause specks like that?" And I STILL wonder that! This is a long shot, but is there any chance you can retain a small section of speck-age and have someone with a microscope take a look-see?...
posted by julthumbscrew at 9:30 PM on August 22, 2011

It smells beautiful.

Not good bacon typically has a nasty, rancid aroma due to the fat. IIRC from my food micro class, the rancid aroma comes before the level of microbes that would make you sick. I would cook it up and eat it.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:06 PM on August 22, 2011

My answer this time is the same as my answer last time: I bet it's blood in the fat. If it is blood in the fat, there's no problem with it.
posted by KathrynT at 12:02 AM on August 23, 2011

I would cook some and give it to the dog. If the dog doesn't get sick, then finish the dog's leftovers.
posted by zia at 12:59 AM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'm in the cut it out and eat the good bit. and compost the rest camp.
posted by singingfish at 1:46 AM on August 23, 2011

Agreeing with DarlingBri - In all of the "Can I eat it" questions I've seen so far, there is an overwhelming "ZOMG NO!!! YOU'LL DIE!!!" reaction from Americans. Cook it, eat it and let your immune system worry about the rest.
posted by dougrayrankin at 4:16 AM on August 23, 2011

I'd take it to the grocery, and ask a butcher.
posted by theora55 at 6:52 AM on August 23, 2011

I'm a vegetarian, but that meat looks damn good and an amazing pink color. Eat it (or if you're worried, cut off the fat).
posted by DoubleLune at 7:56 AM on August 23, 2011

Response by poster: I ate some of the bacon. There were several pieces with no evident specks. I appear not to have suffered any ill effects.

I'm afraid there's very little chance that the bacon will ever be examined with a microscope.

I bought it at a farmers' market. I can't actually remember which vendor, so I can't ask the butcher. But, I may show the picture to a couple of the different pork vendors. They may be able to contribute some valuable information.

For the record, it was delicious. Good bacon is so much better than the more popular supermarket stuff. I'm still a little skeeved out and I'll probably be a little wary the next time I buy bacon at the farmers' market from any of the vendors. But, I'll get over it. It really is great bacon.
posted by stuart_s at 11:13 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

OK, the last time we did this, that bacon also came from a farmer's market. I am going to assume therefore that this is a common and naturally occurring byproduct of hand curing, or perhaps of being a pig. I will further assume and that the mass-produced supermarket bacon we get is heavily processed to eliminate what is essentially a cosmetic defect. (Mass-market consumers really want aesthetically perfect produce these days, much of which looks very little like the normal, less manufactured stuff you get from small producers. This is in no way limited to bacon.)
posted by DarlingBri at 12:46 PM on August 23, 2011

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