Vacuum packed pork offers myriad different benefits for the avid pork consumer. One of the most important benefits are that it reduces the growth of aerobic bacteria and fungi.
Plus, it helps in reducing the atmospheric oxygen, and thus prevents the evaporation of volatile components.
But on the downside, and one of the biggest questions that many consumers ask is why does vacuum packed pork smell?
Getting to good news first – The foul smell of vacuum packed pork is not an indication that there is a problem with the meat!
Then why exactly does vacuum packed pork smell?
Well, its dubbed as “confinement odor”, which results from the vacuum sealing process.
The real answer lies in the removal of oxygen during vacuum sealing procedure of the pork.
It causes confinement odor which happens due to natural bacterial activities residing inside the vacuum packed pork.
This odor usually disperses automatically as soon as you remove the vacuum seal.
Now that you know the real answer, let us also learn other important details that you should know in advance when dealing with vacuum pork.
Most Frequently Asked Questions Related to Vacuum Packed Pork
Confinement Odor – Main Reason Behind Vacuum Sealed Pork Smelling Bad
Most, if not all pork meat sold at butcher shops or grocery stores is vacuum packed.
This is a good thing, as it protects the meat from contamination, and considerably increases the shelf life of the product.
But you may notice an unusual smell when you open the vacuum seal.
When you notice this strange smell, your first guess is probably the meat has gone bad.
However, there’s no reason to jump over the fence yet, as this smell may be absolutely normal, and here’s why!
By now, you already know that vacuum packed pork has had its oxygen removed.
But the natural juices within the meat can develop a tangy odor during storage.
If you stored the vacuum packed pork meat correctly, and it is within its use by date, then the cause of the odor is most likely not spoilage.
As mentioned earlier, this confinement odor is a result of the vacuum sealing process, and is similar to that of the sour milk or cheese.
It’s caused by the natural bacterial activity in the vacuum sealed pork pack.
This confinement odor is generated by either the breakdown of microbiological or enzymatic action of the amino acids present in the proteins.
When this happens, it can generate volatile organic sulfur or nitrogen compounds that can cause confinement odor.
So, the main culprit is the confinement odor which causes odd smell of the vacuum sealed pork. In most cases, it is gone quickly once you open its seal.
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How Long Does Vacuum Packed Pork Last?
Well, the answer can be a bit tricky, because it depends on where you store the vacuum packed pork.
Vacuum packed pork can be stored at room temperature for up to 15 days, but will last longer if stored in a fridge or freezer. (Source: Canky-Tech.com)
If you store the vacuum packed pork in your refrigerator, it will be good for approximately 10 days when stored between 34 degree and 40 degree Fahrenheit.
Take note that anaerobic bacteria can still grow in vacuum packed pork at temperatures above 3°F.
For storing vacuum packed pork meat for more than a few days, freezing is the best way to go.
Vacuum sealed pork meat should be stored at -18°C which keeps it at top quality for up to 6 months.
Freezing vacuum sealed pork preserves its juices, texture, and actual taste.
What Does Pork Smell Like When Gone Bad?
Since we’re referring to raw, uncooked vacuum packed pork in this article, you can generally tell if it’s going or gone bad without even unsealing the package by its color.
When vacuum sealed pork starts to go bad, it will change color to a grey, then greenish hue.
If the color is questionable, you can remove the vacuum seal to check for the bad odor.
Pork that’s gone bad will emit a sour, unpleasant odor which becomes more intense over time.
The changes in the odor and color are caused by the effects of spoilage bacteria.
When you touch the spoiled pork, it will feel sticky or slimy.
So, you will have to get rid of such a spoiled pork as soon as possible.
However, slimy texture pork meat is not a sure-shot indicator that it’s gone bad.
Is It Ok to Eat Vacuum Packed Pork that Smells?
First things first – You can definitely eat vacuum packed pork that smells unpleasant or if it’s discolored.
In some cases, you might see that the meat may appear darker than normal.
But you can still consume it safely as long as it is not spoiled.
If it’s confinement odor, you can easily get rid of it washing the pork, but you have to do it the right way.
The process to clean it right is as follows.
1. Grab a bowl, fill it with water, and then put the meat in it, and rinse thoroughly.
The bowl will help prevent the water from splashing all over the place, which prevents bacteria from the meat juices spreading over your counter space.
2. After you’ve washed the pork meat well, remove from the water, and pat dry with paper towels.
3. Next, allow the meat to rest at room temperature for approximately half an hour.
Letting it sit out at room temperature will have the meat return to its normal color.
This allows the meat to cook more evenly, and best of all will get rid of the vacuum-packed pork smell.
If you buy vacuum packed pork at the store, and it smells nasty when opened, there’s no need to trash it yet.
Spoiled meat will not only feel slimy, but will also showcase a different color. Plus, it will smell like sulfur — a distinct smell that you truly can’t ignore.
To determine whether the pork is indeed bad, and not just smelling due to the vacuum seal, simply wash it thoroughly, and check if the smell has disappeared.
If it hasn’t, and is still lingering around, then you can either return the meat to the store if it’s within the accepted return date, or dispose it appropriately.
When you remove the vacuum packed meat from the freezer, it’s a good idea to inspect it for signs of any leaking juices.
If you notice any leaking juices or the meat feels lose in the package, then there’s a good chance that the air has entered inside the package.
This also means that the vacuum seal has been compromised which often leads to meat spoilage.
Take care of these things and I am sure you will not have any smell or color issues when you eat your next vacuum sealed pork dish.