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.

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.

Yeah, but open it near the sink. Seriously, if it’s off, the smell will have you retching. . .

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

Look, dudes, it’s not a pound of truffles, it’s a pound of bacon. Toss it. Buy another

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.

Not in my house, it doesn’t.

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.

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.

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.

Is is…turckon?

When it turns brown and is oily.

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.

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.

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.