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How Do I Avoid Food Poisoning from Pork?

A. Pasbjerg
Updated May 17, 2024
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Food poisoning from pork can make you extremely sick and in severe cases may even be dangerous, but there are a number of things you can do to avoid it. Try to buy high-quality meat that is not past its expiration date, and store it properly prior to use. Make sure to handle pork with care, avoiding cross-contamination with other foods and ensuring that all surfaces it touches and your hands are thoroughly washed before and afterward. When you prepare it, confirm that it is thoroughly cooked through. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly, and do not eat them if they show any signs of going bad.

You can take steps to avoid food poisoning from pork even before you prepare or eat it. Look for a high-quality, trusted brand of meat, and check the expiration date to make sure it is still good. Limit the amount of time you have the pork out of the refrigerator or freezer as much as possible, including when you thaw it out after freezing.

Contamination due to improper handling during preparation is often a cause of food poisoning from pork, so take steps to keep this from happening. Wash your hands before touching the pork, and prepare it on a clean surface. Do not let it touch other foods and do not prepare other foods on the same surface the pork was on, as this can spread any micro-organisms it contains. Make sure to thoroughly clean any cutting boards, knives, or other utensils used, and also wash your hands again when you are done.

Proper cooking is another critical step in avoiding food poisoning from pork. Use a meat thermometer to verify that the pork has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) at its thickest part. Eat it as quickly after it is finished cooking as possible, preferably while still hot; pork should not be allowed to sit out at room temperature for long periods of time.

Leftover pork can also lead to food poisoning if not handled appropriately. As mentioned above, pork should not sit out for very long, and so should be refrigerated or frozen as soon as possible after cooking so bacteria does not have time to multiply and grow. If you choose to refrigerate your pork, it should be eaten within a day or two of initial cooking and re-heated thoroughly. Signs that the meat has gone bad, like sliminess or a foul smell, mean it should be thrown away immediately.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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A. Pasbjerg
By A. Pasbjerg
Andrea Pasbjerg, a WiseGeek contributor, holds an MBA from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her business background helps her to create content that is both informative and practical, providing readers with valuable insights and strategies for success in the business world.
Discussion Comments
By Krunchyman — On Jul 29, 2014

After reading this article, it leads me to the question. How is it that some people are able to eat undercooked pork burgers without getting sick? For example, quite often, you'll see people ordering rare or medium rare burgers at establishments. Just a thought, but perhaps the meat is heated in a way where even though it's still raw, it's cooked just enough to kill all the bacteria.

By Viranty — On Jul 29, 2014

One of the most dangerous things about pork is that unlike chicken and beef, if you happen to eat the meat undercooked, you can end up getting parasites. If not taken care of, it can lead to some serious problem in the long run. For example, the tapeworm, which can derive from undercooked pork, sits in your intestine and absorbs all the nutrients. When you eat, you won't gain anything, and you'll even start losing weight,

By RoyalSpyder — On Jul 28, 2014

Unlike pork and chicken, which can be thoroughly cooked without any problems, pork is one of those tricky things. There are times where even if you cook it all the way, it can still cause you to get sick. Generally speaking, the reason why is because of the enzymes. Even when cooked properly, the meat won't always sit well with people, and may cause them to feel funny for a while.

A. Pasbjerg
A. Pasbjerg
Andrea Pasbjerg, a WiseGeek contributor, holds an MBA from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her business background helps her to create content that is both informative and practical, providing readers with valuable insights and strategies for success in the business world.
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