How long does bacon last?
Varying circumstances can determine how long bacon can last in the fridge, and the answer depends largely on the storage conditions.
An unopened pack of bacon can last in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks past the recommended ‘sell by’ date and should be refrigerated immediately after purchase (at approximately 4 degrees Celsius).
Once opened, bacon can last in the fridge for up 7 to 10 days – the ‘sell by’ date might expire in that period, but if stored correctly, it will still be safe to use.
Still Tasty says that bacteria grows rapidly at room temperature, so if the bacon has been left out for more than 2 hours it’s advised to not consume it after this time.
Cooked bacon can last in the fridge for 10 days.
Can you freeze bacon?
Once opened, bacon can be kept in its original packaging when in the fridge but to maximise freshness, place the already opened pack inside a resealable plastic bag or wrap it tightly with cling wrap.
To increase bacon’s shelf life, you can store it in the freezer. Wrap the original packaging tightly with cling wrap or in a heavy-duty freezer bag – unopened bacon can be kept for 8 months, while opened or cooked can be stored for 6 months.
Although for the sake of maintaining bacon's best taste and texture, it's ideal to cook it within one month of freezing.
Once defrosted in the fridge, bacon be kept for another 1 to 2 days in the fridge before cooking. But if it has been thawed in the microwave or cold water be sure to cook the back straight away.
Street Smart Kitchen reveals three simple ways to determine if bacon is off:
The bacon is safe to eat if it still has its natural pink colour with the fat being white or yellow. If the bacon has turned brown or grey with a tinge of green or blue, then it has gone off. Too much exposure to air causes a chemical reaction on the meat that leads to the change in colour.
Fresh bacon will always have a natural meaty smell. The bacon is off if it smells sour, fishy, rotting or just really unpleasant. Bacteria growth can make bacon smell off.
Good bacon is soft, fresh and moist. Bad bacon feels slimy to the touch and has a sticky sheen around it. Lactic acid bacteria can cause slime formation on meat. It is best to dispose of spoiled bacon immediately before it contaminates other meat products. Make sure to wrap it up with plastic and throw it out to prevent the smell from spreading throughout your kitchen.
What happens if you've eaten bacon that has gone off?
If you’ve eaten expired or undercooked bacon, there’s a chance that you could get food poisoning. Some tell-tale symptoms include vomiting, nausea, and stomach cramps; but even if you aren’t feeling unwell yet, it’s wise to stay hydrated to flush your system clean.
If you’re uncertain that the bacon you ate was off, drink plenty of fluids. In the future, don’t risk it: if you’re not absolutely sure, throw it out. If your bacon is already spoiled, even a thorough cooking will not completely kill off bacteria.
If you are still concerned, be sure to see your doctor.