Bad pork or just a bad smell?
February 14, 2008 4:46 PM   Subscribe

Another round of "Should I eat this?"

I have a pork tenderloin which I purchased an hour ago at a reputable grocery store, sealed in a plastic bag. Opening the bag, the pork smells horrible, sorta like rotten eggs. Rinsing it off reduced but did not eliminate the smell.

How can I tell the difference between rotten pork and funky plastic-sealed smell? I really don't want to go back to the store or chuck my V-Day meal plans.
posted by Bookhouse to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Rotten eggs is never a good smell. that's outgassing of some sort, and no food-grade plastic wrap in the world is going to smell like that.
posted by pupdog at 4:49 PM on February 14, 2008

If it smells bad, return it. Nothing should go bad in an hour.
posted by mphuie at 4:50 PM on February 14, 2008

Sulfur is not from the plastic bag. Since you don't want to go back to the store, just toss it. I have a feeling food poisoning or even an off-tasting pork dish would probably impact your V-day meals plans more than ordering in.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 4:51 PM on February 14, 2008

Nothing says romantic like rotten meat.
posted by foodgeek at 4:52 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Rotten eggs smell foul to you for the same reason that fats and sweets taste good: evolutionary survival. I wouldn't touch it.
posted by gramcracker at 4:53 PM on February 14, 2008

I think you should definitely eat it.
posted by astruc at 4:54 PM on February 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

I'd usually say eat it without qualms.

Don't eat it.
posted by Stewriffic at 4:55 PM on February 14, 2008

Sorry about your meal plans, but raw meat + "horrible" smell = DO NOT EAT. Do what I did, order a pizza (my wife's job sent her to Virginia over Valentines day, thanks a lot you romantic bastards)
posted by nanojath at 4:55 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I personally wouldn't touch it, but according to (of all places) Yahoo Answers, that smell is not uncommon in still-good vaccuum-sealed pork.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:56 PM on February 14, 2008

Response by poster: See, I'd read something similar to Metroid Baby's link before, which is why I even bothered asking. But, annoyed as I am, I'm going back to the store. Thanks for keeping me sane, everybody.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:59 PM on February 14, 2008

I usually advise eating when 90% of AskMe advises chucking. Do not eat the rotten-egg pork.
posted by mzurer at 5:02 PM on February 14, 2008

Oh, nuts.
You're returning it.
Now we'll never know!

But yeah. While I'm always and "eat it!" guy, I can only imagine the horror stories that would erupt from this.

"what did you get for v-day?"
"the plague."
posted by Acari at 5:14 PM on February 14, 2008 [3 favorites]

Just had the same thing here--we bought a prepackaged pork tenderloin from our normal supermarket and had to get rid of it as it had a bad sulfur smell. Once we opened it we could still smell it through the plastic bag we wrapped it in to toss it out. Ugg. I know prepackaged food sometimes has a smell to it, but this was a bit to wrong smelling.
posted by nalyd at 5:19 PM on February 14, 2008

I eat pretty much anything.

But I wouldn't eat that.
posted by unSane at 5:28 PM on February 14, 2008

I hope this doesn't get deleted, but on a related note: What if you've got pork that's gone bad in the same refrigerator as meat/pork that hasn't gone bad? Can it, like, go osmosis???
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:30 PM on February 14, 2008

Response by poster: Don't make me paranoid.

The pork is gone. I have steaks from another store. Crisis averted.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:32 PM on February 14, 2008

If they're both properly wrapped and not leaking, not likely. And even then, assuming the good meat is not ground and will be eaten soon, probably not so bad that cooking won't kill whatever it is.

On the other hand, meat in your fridge leaking into the crisper and getting all over your salad vegetables, which will not be cooked is apparently a surprisingly common way of spreading food poisony ickiness.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:35 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I would eat anything for love

But I won't eat that.
posted by Kafkaesque at 5:47 PM on February 14, 2008 [19 favorites]

I'm glad you didn't eat it.
posted by Melsky at 6:05 PM on February 14, 2008

lol Kafkaesque.

I'm so glad you averted the serious bout of food poisoning that would have resulted from that pork!
posted by CreativeJuices at 6:10 PM on February 14, 2008

While I can't quite recommend eating anything that smells off, I have eaten pork (ribs) that were vacuum sealed and had an odd odor when I opened the package. I was fine.

So was everybody I fed the ribs to.
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:19 PM on February 14, 2008

I'm glad you didn't eat the pork, but I have found that all pork tenderloin, no matter how fresh and non-toxic, smells relatively hideous. I think it's the horrific carcinogenic mutation-producing genetically-modified antibiotic radioactive preservative goop they soak it in or something.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:28 PM on February 14, 2008

@ Kafkaesque.

Hilarious stuff bro.

During my poor student days, I would eat pretty much anything. I've had foul-smelling meat fear-factor style and am still alive.
posted by iceman7 at 7:01 PM on February 14, 2008

Fresh, healthy meat never smells bad like that. There's no way meat with that smell is good. Take back, 100% of the time.
posted by Miko at 8:04 PM on February 14, 2008

Best answer: Pork that has been cryovaced can definitely develop a funky, sulfur smell. This is the natural result of amino acids in the meat breaking down and getting trapped in the vacuum packaging. Some breakdown is good, it tenderizes the meat and enhances the flavor. Too much breakdown means the meat is spoiling or has been abused at some point before it got to your home. The best guideline I've seen is from The Virtual Weber Bullet which says:

You may notice a slight odor when opening the Cryovac packaging. This odor is normal and should dissipate quickly. If the odor is a strong, putrid smell that does not dissipate after a few minutes, even after rinsing under cold running water, this is a sign that the meat is spoiled, and it should be returned to the store for a refund.

It definitely sounds like you were right to take it back.
posted by TungstenChef at 10:11 PM on February 14, 2008

I find it helpful in these situations to ask myself, "what's the worst that could happen?"
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 10:31 PM on February 14, 2008

Yes, take it back. And never read the parts of Fast Food Nation about industrial meat processing in the United States.
posted by XMLicious at 12:49 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

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