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  #1  
Old 03-13-2010, 09:27 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is online now
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Does bacon really expire?

I bought bacon in December. Then we couldn't prepare it for various reasons.

I wanted to cook it tomorrow morning but the package says "prepare or freeze by February 10".

Does the stuff *really* expire or are they covering their backsides? I mean, it's so loaded with salt and nitrites...

This is the standard American streaky bacon in a half-pound package, and it has not been opened.
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  #2  
Old 03-13-2010, 09:31 PM
AuntiePam AuntiePam is offline
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Bacon expires. But since the package hasn't been opened, it might still be okay. You can tell by smelling it. If it smells off, it's off.
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  #3  
Old 03-13-2010, 09:43 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Yeah, but open it near the sink. Seriously, if it's off, the smell will have you retching. . .
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  #4  
Old 03-13-2010, 09:50 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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I found an expired pack of bacon in the back of the fridge. I didn't need to smell it, as it was covered in green mold.
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:51 PM
BMada BMada is offline
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Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
I found an expired pack of bacon in the back of the fridge. I didn't need to smell it, as it was covered in green mold.
did you eat it?
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  #6  
Old 03-13-2010, 09:55 PM
Cowgirl Jules Cowgirl Jules is offline
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Oh yes, it expires. I got a hold of a bad batch at a local restaurant and lived to regret it. They admitted that the foul smell in my omelette was from bad bacon.
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  #7  
Old 03-13-2010, 09:57 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Expiration dates for most products are merely (very conservative) guidelines for when the food may not be as tasty as it once was (see this article) . It does not address its safety.

TruCelt is correct: if the food is bad, it will smell bad or give other signs (like mold) that it's not good to eat. And older food may not taste as good as when it's fresh. But the date is at best a suggestion.
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  #8  
Old 03-13-2010, 10:16 PM
WarmNPrickly WarmNPrickly is offline
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It should be just fine if it hasn't been opened and has been refrigerated. I don't think you can necessarily tell if food is bad or not by the smell, but if it smells bad it sure isn't going to taste any better.

I wouldn't be concerned about your bacon at all.
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  #9  
Old 03-13-2010, 10:40 PM
DesertDog DesertDog is offline
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Just last week I discovered a forgotten package of bacon. It didn't look moldy but the lean strips were kind of greyish instead of that healthy nitrate pink and exuded water was in the package. I fried it up and ate it with no ill results but the flavor was definitely not "dainty-fresh" as it should have been.
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  #10  
Old 03-13-2010, 11:47 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Look, dudes, it's not a pound of truffles, it's a pound of bacon. Toss it. Buy another
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  #11  
Old 03-14-2010, 12:46 AM
devilsknew devilsknew is offline
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A smoked and salted slab does not expire... when you slice it and inject liquids you make it aqueous and much more susceptible to rot.

You need a a pure dry cure.
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  #12  
Old 03-14-2010, 03:32 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Not in my house, it doesn't.
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  #13  
Old 03-14-2010, 08:23 AM
WarmNPrickly WarmNPrickly is offline
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Look, dudes, it's not a pound of truffles, it's a pound of bacon. Toss it. Buy another
Meh, that requires a trip to the store. It's an unnecessary hassle, unless your already headed there. Besides, it is very unlikely that this bacon will even have an off flavor. It hasn't gone rancid because it hasn't been exposed to oxygen. Any bacteria present has been growing very slowly because it has been refrigerated. Even if I went to the store to get bacon, I would still cook up this batch. It's fine.
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  #14  
Old 03-14-2010, 10:14 AM
vivalostwages vivalostwages is offline
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The uncured turkey bacon I got at Trader Joe's was fine until the other day....there were 2 slices left that had been in the fridge meat drawer for a while and were turning green.

Of course, the not-cured part is probably the key here.
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  #15  
Old 03-14-2010, 06:43 PM
Alan Smithee Alan Smithee is online now
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Isn't "uncured bacon" an oxymoron? Isn't uncured bacon just . . . pork? (A specific fatty cut of pork, true, but still not bacon.)

ETA: Well, not pork in this case. I suppose when you're dealing with pseudofood, all bets are off. Not that there's anything wrong with turkey bacon, but, well, it isn't really bacon to begin with.

Last edited by Alan Smithee; 03-14-2010 at 06:45 PM..
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  #16  
Old 03-14-2010, 08:21 PM
vivalostwages vivalostwages is offline
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Is is....turckon?
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  #17  
Old 03-14-2010, 11:28 PM
Perciful Perciful is offline
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When it turns brown and is oily.
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  #18  
Old 03-15-2010, 06:26 AM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is online now
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Laughing here at some of the responses! I know, I call myself a Doper and yet.... bacon goes uneaten here if we forget about it :::hangs head in shame::: My only excuse is that I was *sick* at Christmas and couldn't cook or eat its bacony delightfulness, and we've been distracted since then.

We wound up not having time for any experimentation, as my time was taken up by slicing up and French-toastifying some homemade cinnamon raisin bread with a Grand Marnier-flavored custard... and every time I looked in the direction of the meat drawer, my arteries whimpered in terror.
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  #19  
Old 03-15-2010, 06:56 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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I've seen grey bacon and wouldn't open the package to see if it smelled spoiled.

It's nice how modern packaging allows for kids to experiment with spoilage and never have to smell or touch their school science assignment.
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  #20  
Old 03-15-2010, 11:29 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Do what I do with questionable food, and test it on the dog. If she pukes it back up and declines to re-eat it, out it goes.
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  #21  
Old 03-15-2010, 11:35 AM
Alan Smithee Alan Smithee is online now
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I admire your fortitude in accepting that food that makes the dog vomit, but that she will not refuse to re-eat is not necessarily inedible. I admire it in much the same way that I might admire the impeccable French accent of someone claiming to be Napoleon, for example.
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  #22  
Old 03-15-2010, 11:40 AM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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Bacon never expires ... it only pines for the fjords.
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  #23  
Old 03-15-2010, 12:38 PM
The Devil's Grandmother The Devil's Grandmother is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Zappa View Post
We wound up not having time for any experimentation, as my time was taken up by slicing up and French-toastifying some homemade cinnamon raisin bread with a Grand Marnier-flavored custard... and every time I looked in the direction of the meat drawer, my arteries whimpered in terror.
Your arteries are ok with custard, but not bacon? I'd have a serious talk with them.
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  #24  
Old 03-15-2010, 01:22 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
I admire your fortitude in accepting that food that makes the dog vomit, but that she will not refuse to re-eat is not necessarily inedible. I admire it in much the same way that I might admire the impeccable French accent of someone claiming to be Napoleon, for example.
Arguably, that food is doubly edible.

It's a sliding scale, to be sure. If she keeps it down but farts copiously, I wouldn't serve it to company, for instance.
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  #25  
Old 03-15-2010, 01:42 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is online now
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Originally Posted by The Devil's Grandmother View Post
Your arteries are ok with custard, but not bacon? I'd have a serious talk with them.
Oh no, they were wincing from the custard (which wasn't that toxic... the recipe called for half-and-half and the closest I had was nonfat milk), and they were afraid the bacon would finish the job

Grand Marnier French Toast.
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  #26  
Old 03-15-2010, 01:46 PM
robby robby is online now
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I used to get sick now and again with stomach ailments, like many people do from time to time.

Then one day I watched a report on a news show about food safety/spoilage and how common mild food poisoning is, and how its symptoms are often mistakenly attributed to a contagious illness. The report included a food safety expert doing bacteria counts on refrigerated food stored past the recommended amount of time. The results were startling. Cooked pasta stored for 7 days in the refrigerator had unsafe levels of bacteria, for example.

Now, I follow guidelines like these from the FDA, and I can't remember the last time I got sick to my stomach.

If a food item is past the "use by" date, I throw it out. No exceptions.

My mantra with respect to food is: "When in doubt, throw it out."

No old food item is worth getting sick, and you can't always tell that food is spoiled just going by the smell.

I'd have to be starving before I ate a "grayish" slab of bacon.
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  #27  
Old 03-15-2010, 01:47 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is offline
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Originally Posted by Mama Zappa View Post
We wound up not having time for any experimentation, as my time was taken up by slicing up and French-toastifying some homemade cinnamon raisin bread with a Grand Marnier-flavored custard... and every time I looked in the direction of the meat drawer, my arteries whimpered in terror.
Last two times I made French toast, I fried up some bacon first and re-used the same pan.
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  #28  
Old 03-15-2010, 01:55 PM
lieu lieu is offline
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Old bacon never expires, it just slowly FDAs away.
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  #29  
Old 03-15-2010, 03:46 PM
ministryman ministryman is offline
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Originally Posted by Mama Zappa View Post
I bought bacon in December. Then we couldn't prepare it for various reasons.

I wanted to cook it tomorrow morning but the package says "prepare or freeze by February 10".

Does the stuff *really* expire or are they covering their backsides? I mean, it's so loaded with salt and nitrites...

This is the standard American streaky bacon in a half-pound package, and it has not been opened.
All meat, even shot up with formaldehyde (corpses in coffins), will rot eventually if exposed to aerobic bacteria.

Bacon is no exception. If it smells vinegary, chuck that pig in the trash.

Your digestive system will thank you. Trust me.
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  #30  
Old 03-15-2010, 03:58 PM
Dolores Reborn Dolores Reborn is offline
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If you can't eat a whole pound before the expiration date, freeze it in usable portions. I freeze a pound separated into two portions. When I'm ready to cook, I just fry the frozen bacon slowly, until it can be separated.

Funky bacon is gross!
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  #31  
Old 03-16-2010, 12:53 AM
The Devil's Grandmother The Devil's Grandmother is offline
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Originally Posted by Mama Zappa View Post
Oh no, they were wincing from the custard (which wasn't that toxic... the recipe called for half-and-half and the closest I had was nonfat milk), and they were afraid the bacon would finish the job

Grand Marnier French Toast.
ooo, that sounds really good. I wonder If I've still got that sandwhich bread in the freezer.

Thanks!
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  #32  
Old 03-16-2010, 07:00 AM
Perciful Perciful is offline
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Old bacon never expires, it just slowly FDAs away.
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  #33  
Old 03-16-2010, 08:44 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is online now
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Originally Posted by WarmNPrickly View Post
It should be just fine if it hasn't been opened and has been refrigerated. I don't think you can necessarily tell if food is bad or not by the smell, but if it smells bad it sure isn't going to taste any better.

I wouldn't be concerned about your bacon at all.
I agree. I wish people would stop saying that food safety can be judged by appearance or smell - they simply are not reliable indicators, as some of the things that can make food stinky are harmless and some of the things that can make food harmful are not stinky.
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  #34  
Old 03-16-2010, 09:05 AM
Walker in Eternity Walker in Eternity is offline
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As the OP started by saying
Quote:
standard American streaky bacon in a half-pound package
I got to wondering what happens to the rest of the bacon in the US?

I recently visited Florida and all you could get was streaky bacon, in the UK we have back, middle, streaky and possibly other varieties. What happens to the rest of the bacon in the US and the rest of the pig?
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  #35  
Old 03-16-2010, 09:17 AM
WarmNPrickly WarmNPrickly is offline
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Originally Posted by robby View Post
Then one day I watched a report on a news show about food safety/spoilage and how common mild food poisoning is, and how its symptoms are often mistakenly attributed to a contagious illness. The report included a food safety expert doing bacteria counts on refrigerated food stored past the recommended amount of time. The results were startling. Cooked pasta stored for 7 days in the refrigerator had unsafe levels of bacteria, for example.
Those germ hunters on morning television shows and the like are a crock of shit. They find bacteria everywhere and yet for some reason no one is getting very sick. Now they are trying to blame an occasional tummy ache on it? If your immune system is so weak that these daily exposures are making you sick you either need to expose your system more to get it to adapt or live in a bubble. I'm of the opinion that there is such a thing as too sanitary.
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  #36  
Old 03-16-2010, 10:03 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Originally Posted by Walker in Eternity View Post
As the OP started by saying I got to wondering what happens to the rest of the bacon in the US?

I recently visited Florida and all you could get was streaky bacon, in the UK we have back, middle, streaky and possibly other varieties. What happens to the rest of the bacon in the US and the rest of the pig?
If I'm not mistaken, we call back bacon "Canadian bacon." (And we're naturally suspicious of it for that reason ). Seriously, though, it's a niche product here. The only mass-market role for it that I know of is in the McDonald's Egg McMuffin.

I don't know what we do with that part of the pig. Presumably we're not sending it to Canada. Perhaps we just eat it cooked as pork loin, rather than cured?
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  #37  
Old 03-17-2010, 11:11 PM
robby robby is online now
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Originally Posted by WarmNPrickly View Post
Those germ hunters on morning television shows and the like are a crock of shit. They find bacteria everywhere and yet for some reason no one is getting very sick. Now they are trying to blame an occasional tummy ache on it? If your immune system is so weak that these daily exposures are making you sick you either need to expose your system more to get it to adapt or live in a bubble. I'm of the opinion that there is such a thing as too sanitary.
It wasn't a morning TV show. It was either Dateline or 60 Minutes, FWIW.

Anyway, I'm well aware that bacteria is everywhere. However, there's a difference between the typical bacteria you find on people's hands, doorknobs, etc. and the bacteria present due to food spoilage. And the whole point of the show is that people get sick all the time; they just blame it on an illness instead of recurring mild food poisoning from eating spoiled food. As I said, I haven't had a stomach ailment in years, and I rarely get sick. (I haven't taken a sick day in well over a year.) I attribute this partly to throwing out old food, and not taking a chance with things like eating bacon a month past its "use by" date.
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  #38  
Old 03-18-2010, 12:34 PM
WarmNPrickly WarmNPrickly is offline
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Dateline, 60 minutes and the like are really no different from the morning news programs. Occasionally 60 minutes goes old-style and does an in depth investigation, but most of their stuff is the usual alarmist crap. I'll bet they never even bothered to interview dumpster divers for at least some counter point. No, they likely only interviewed alarmist doctors that think sterility is king. There are plenty that don't agree.

You may attribute your lack of tummy aches to throwing away perfectly good food, but that doesn't make it fact. Certainly, the fact that you haven't taken a sick day due to a cold or flu is entirely unrelated. I have never in my life had food poisoning, and I break every hypochondriac rule in the book. So I counter you anecdote with mine. Yay for anecdotes!
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  #39  
Old 03-19-2010, 02:01 AM
Celyn Celyn is offline
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Originally Posted by Walker in Eternity View Post
As the OP started by saying I got to wondering what happens to the rest of the bacon in the US?

I recently visited Florida and all you could get was streaky bacon, in the UK we have back, middle, streaky and possibly other varieties. What happens to the rest of the bacon in the US and the rest of the pig?
Isn't that odd, though? I mean, given that streaky bacon is the cheapest and probably unhealthiest kind? Oh hell, now I want bacon.

Tangent: doing a Saturday job as a schoolgirl in the 1970s, I sold various cheeses, pts, and types of bacon. One customer confused me by asking for "Irish Wiltshire". Ahem, with respect, sir, WTF?
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  #40  
Old 03-19-2010, 04:45 AM
Walker in Eternity Walker in Eternity is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
If I'm not mistaken, we call back bacon "Canadian bacon." (And we're naturally suspicious of it for that reason ). Seriously, though, it's a niche product here. The only mass-market role for it that I know of is in the McDonald's Egg McMuffin.

I don't know what we do with that part of the pig. Presumably we're not sending it to Canada. Perhaps we just eat it cooked as pork loin, rather than cured?
Thanks for the reply. So it seems that streaky is all you can get in the US in general then.

As Celyn pointed out, this seems odd to those of us in the UK as streaky is generally considered bad for you on the whole.
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  #41  
Old 03-19-2010, 09:18 AM
Surly Chick Surly Chick is offline
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There is no other kind of bacon than streaky bacon.

That is all.
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  #42  
Old 03-19-2010, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
Arguably, that food is doubly edible.

It's a sliding scale, to be sure. If she keeps it down but farts copiously, I wouldn't serve it to company, for instance.
Both this response and your litmus test are the funniest things I've read all day. Kudos!
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  #43  
Old 03-19-2010, 12:50 PM
Alan Smithee Alan Smithee is online now
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Thanks for the reply. So it seems that streaky is all you can get in the US in general then.

As Celyn pointed out, this seems odd to those of us in the UK as streaky is generally considered bad for you on the whole.
It's considered bad for you here, too. Of course, that wasn't always the case, but by the time people started to worry about fats and such, bacon was already so ingrained as an unhealthy indulgence that I don't think the Canadian Bacon Producers of America would get very far with a campaign of "Back bacon: it's the healthier bacon."
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  #44  
Old 03-19-2010, 01:00 PM
Green Bean Green Bean is offline
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Originally Posted by WarmNPrickly View Post
You may attribute your lack of tummy aches to throwing away perfectly good food, but that doesn't make it fact. Certainly, the fact that you haven't taken a sick day due to a cold or flu is entirely unrelated. I have never in my life had food poisoning, and I break every hypochondriac rule in the book.
How are you so sure you've never had food poisoning?

They told me the same thing when I was in the ER with (not-mild) food poisoning.
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  #45  
Old 03-19-2010, 01:39 PM
Giles Giles is online now
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There is no other kind of bacon than streaky bacon.

That is all.
In the United States that is all. However, there are parts of the civilised world where you can get better bacon, e.g., Australia and England.

I suspect that in the US the better parts of the hog are turned into Canadian bacon and ham.
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  #46  
Old 03-19-2010, 01:51 PM
WarmNPrickly WarmNPrickly is offline
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How are you so sure you've never had food poisoning?

They told me the same thing when I was in the ER with (not-mild) food poisoning.
I never made an argument that food poisoning doesn't exist. From what I understand, it sucks a lot. That is how I am certain that I haven't had food poisoning. I definitely don't think throwing out a sealed package of always been refrigerated bacon is going to in any way increase your risk of food poisoning.

This new concept that people are always suffering from mild bouts of food poisoning is not something I have ever heard. I certainly needs more evidence than swabbing food they way they swab telephone booths and say "look! oogy germs!" Frankly, I think that an overly sterile environment is unhealthy in the long term. Maybe that is why I've never had food poisoning.
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  #47  
Old 03-20-2010, 07:39 AM
smoke smoke is offline
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In the United States that is all. However, there are parts of the civilised world where you can get better bacon, e.g., Australia and England.

I suspect that in the US the better parts of the hog are turned into Canadian bacon and ham.
Do tell. I'd like to go looking to order some, but what's the difference with the bacon you're describing?
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  #48  
Old 03-20-2010, 11:26 PM
devilsknew devilsknew is offline
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English Bacon is generally a dry cure loin back bacon (nonsmoked usually, but sometimes smoked), similar to Canadian Bacon. I think what they make bacon with, we make into porkchops.

Last edited by devilsknew; 03-20-2010 at 11:27 PM..
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  #49  
Old 03-20-2010, 11:43 PM
Odesio Odesio is offline
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I agree. I wish people would stop saying that food safety can be judged by appearance or smell - they simply are not reliable indicators, as some of the things that can make food stinky are harmless and some of the things that can make food harmful are not stinky.
Most of us don't have a lab at home, so smell and sight is pretty much our only method of testing. Well, except for just feeding it to someone and waiting to see what happens.

Last edited by Odesio; 03-20-2010 at 11:45 PM..
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  #50  
Old 03-21-2010, 01:06 AM
devilsknew devilsknew is offline
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Ya see, the English have bacon all upside down. They use the back, we use the belly.
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