How Long After Use By Date Is Bacon Good (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 weeks

Bacon is the common name given to meat that is sliced off from a pig’s back or belly. This type of meat is typically salt-cured, and it is often made into dishes of its own, or incorporated into other meals. In addition, it may also be added as an ingredient in meals such as soups, sandwiches, salads, and more.

In the United States, the most popular form of bacon that is eaten is known as side pork. Side pork is procured from the pig’s sides. As a result, this meat tends to be quite fatty, with fat layers that run along the bacon rinds.

How Long After Use By Date Is Bacon Good?

Time for which bacon stays good after use-by-date
Unopened in refrigerator1-2 weeks
Unopened in freezer6-8 months
Opened in refrigerator (Fresh bacon)1 week
Opened in freezer (Fresh bacon)6 months
Opened in refrigerator (Cooked bacon)7-10 days
Opened in freezer (Cooked bacon)6 months

In order to cure the bacon, they soak the meat in a solution that contains salt and nitrated, any oftentimes sugar. It is usually smoked prior to cooking the meat at home.

What makes bacon so delicious and addicting is its fat content. The fat is responsible for giving the meat its tasty flavor. In addition, the fat helps the meat become crispy but tender while cooking.

The optimum bacon typically has a ratio of one-half fat to two-thirds meat. While the bacon is being cooked, the fat is often rendered out. Moreover, you may even pour it off if you want.

If you wish to cook bacon, then you must remember to always cook bacon at low temperatures. This is because excessive heat converts the nitrite that is used to cure the bacon, into nitrosamine, which can be dangerous.

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When it comes to storing bacon, an unopened pack of bacon can be stored in the refrigerator, for 1-2 weeks, and it will still remain good. If the unopened bacon is stored in the freezer, its shelf life drastically increases, and it can remain safe to eat for 6-8 months.

If the fresh bacon is opened and stored in the refrigerator, then it can stay safe to eat for 1 week. If the fresh bacon is opened and stored in the freezer, then it can stay safe to eat for 6 months. If the cooked bacon is opened and stored in the refrigerator, then it will remain good for 7-10 days. If the cooked bacon is opened and stored in the freezer, then it will remain safe to eat for 6 months.

Why Is Bacon Good For That Long After Use By Date?

Bacon can stay safe to eat for that amount of time if it is refrigerated or frozen. This is because it prevents the growth of bacteria on the bacon, and stops the bacon from becoming spoiled quickly. In addition, storing it in a tightly sealed container can prevent moisture and more contaminants.

If the bacon is rotten or spoiled, and if you happen to consume it, then you have the chance of suffering from food poisoning, which may even cost you a visit to the hospital.

You may experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, fever, body pain, diarrhea, dehydration. If it is a severe case, then one may experience vomiting of blood, intense drowsiness, severe body and abdominal pain, and terrible dehydration.

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Rotten bacon can taste sour because of the bacteria that form on top of it. In addition, the bacon’s color can become grey, green, or brown. Also, rotten bacon can feel slimy and gooey to the touch. With respect to the smell, spoiled bacon can smell sour, and disgusting. You may even smell ammonia-like meat. If this is the case, you must immediately discard the meat.

In order to prevent the rotting of bacon, you must store it at or below 40°F, to slow down the growth of bacteria. Additionally, you should avoid keeping your bacon sitting out beyond 2 hours. Also, the bacon must be stored on the shelf in the refrigerator. Keeping it in the door can reduce the quality of the meat, as the door is subjected to fluctuations in temperature.

Conclusion

In conclusion, bacon stays good for up to 2 weeks beyond the use-by-date, if it is unopened and refrigerated properly. In order to keep bacon healthy and safe to eat, you must implement food safety protocols, and store the bacon under optimal conditions.

It should be stored in either the refrigerator or freezer, in a tightly sealed container to prevent moisture and the growth of bacteria.

Eating spoiled bacon can significantly harm one’s health and cause food poisoning and diarrhea, which can lead to hospitalization in severely affected cases.

Thus, always trust your senses and ensure that the bacon is good before you consume it, by checking its smell, texture, and color.

References

  1. https://repository.arizona.edu/handle/10150/146453
  2. http://food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/media/document/the-effects-of-consumer-freezing-of-food-on-its-use-by-date.pdf
  3. https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/84264
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