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Jun 30, 2010 08:58 AM

Pork Tenderloin: Gone bad?

I purchased two pieces of fresh pork tenderloin on Sat from a well-regarded butcher in Chinatown. I planned on cooking it today (Wed) but when I opened the bag, it had a strong sulphur smell to it. It's only been 5 days. Has it gone bad? Should I throw it out? I'm new to preparing pork tenderloin so I need help! It was just a $10 investment, but I'd really like to know how long I can keep it in the fridge before I cook it. I've been storing it in the bottom, coldest drawer of my fridge.

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  1. Hmmm, how sure are you about this butcher in Chinatown?

    What ever you do don't risk food poisoning for $10.00. Your nose and instincts are most likely correct. Throw it away. I know it's disappointing, but don't take a chance. I always look at the date of meat which will often explain the freeze by date, or have a three day and no more in the fridge rule before I cook, or put in the freezer.

    1. Some sulphur odor will be natural simply because of the cryovac packaging, but a "strong sulpher smell" (as you say) is not normal.

      Here's what one commercial website says, much more pithily than I did:

      "You may notice a slight odor when opening the Cryovac packaging. This odor is normal and should dissipate after a few minutes. If the odor is a strong, putrid smell that lingers even after rinsing the meat under cold running water, this is a sign that the meat is spoiled, and it should be returned to the store for a refund."

      1. I agree with mara on the 3 day rule. Whenever I buy meat and won't be cooking it within 2-3 days it goes into the freezer. As an added bonus if you are going to be slicing the raw meat, doing it while it is still partially frozen gives you super thin slices perfect for stir fry.

        1. What about the texture - is it slimy and / or greasy? Discolouration taken place already? If so -> ditch it. If not -> I don't know, LOL.

          1. If you're up to it, I'd recommend you take it back and tell the butcher about it. Food poisoning is no joke, and if they're selling off meat, they should know (and refund).

            4 Replies
            1. re: rcallner

              Reminds me of the time I once took a stinky pork shoulder roast back to the store (it had also been cryovac). It smelled so bad I was tempted just to forget it rather than deal with the thing in my car, but I ended up taking it to them exactly because I wanted them to smell it and grasp the "reality" of the issue!

              1. re: Bada Bing

                At the risk of flogging a dead pork loin - food poisoning can actually be fatal to people who have weak immune systems or are generally vulnerable, like the very elderly or chronically ill, so it helps an establishment to remember to be careful.

              2. re: rcallner

                Even if you had a receipt could you really expect a butcher to refund you fully for a purchase made 5 days ago? The meat could have been sold spoiled but you could have also stored it in sub-optimal conditions. If I was the butcher I might have a hard time taking the customer at their word after 5 days but then again I'm not a butcher.

                1. re: bookhound

                  Thanks for the replies! I learned my lesson the semi-hard way (without eating it!)...just gonna throw it away and make sure the next time I buy tenderloin I cook it right away. It's just packed in a plastic bag from the butcher not that super-tight plastic packaging. Thank you!!