What Happens If You Eat Bad Ham? [A Must See]

What happens if you eat bad ham? You may develop symptoms of food poisoning. The symptoms can include fever, stomach cramps, bloating, chills, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Food safety has become a significant concern for consumers around the globe. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that 48 million Americans get sick from foodborne illnesses yearly. The numbers are likely even higher as not all cases are reported.

Ham is a type of processed pork that has been salted, smoked, and then cooked. Improper storage may cause this ham to go wrong as it has a short shelf life if it is not stored correctly.

In this article, I will discuss ham, some healthy tips for making your ham more nourishing, how to tell if the ham is bad, and how to store ham.

What you should know about ham

Ham is a lump of salted or smoked meat from the upper part of a pig’s leg. There are different types of ham: fresh ham, cured ham, and smoked ham. Ham is a lump of versatile pork meat you can use to complete breakfast, launch, and even dinner.

Although ham is not recommended for people on a weight loss plan, it still has some health benefits. Ham provides selenium which aids reproduction and DNA construction. Vitamin B and iron are also found in ham and have essential nutritional value to your body.

SEE: The Different Types of Cut You Can Get From a Cow.

How can you detect spoilt ham?

1. Expiry date

When preparing food with purchased can ham, the first move you should make is to check the expiry date on the label. If the expiry date has passed, you should take no chances and toss it away.

2. Smell

Another sign of detecting spoilt ham is its smell. Sniff the ham to check its condition before cooking. You should get a salty or smoky aroma from the ham. It is best to assume the ham has gone bad if you get a fowl odor.

3. Color

Ham has a pale pink color. If you notice that the color of the ham changes from pink to green, grey, brown, or any other strange color, don’t overthink it. Throw it away.

4. Texture

The texture is also vital in knowing if your ham has gone bad. To determine the texture of the ham, give it a touch. Ham is supposed to have a stable and moist texture, and the ham is no longer good if you have a slimy and sticky feel.

5. Mold

Mold is a poisonous compound that can multiply with bacteria. When the ham has mold, toxic bacteria are steadily increasing and may cause diseases.
If this spot appears mild, you can scrap it off with a brush before cooking. But if the mold spots look severe, it is advisable to throw the ham out.

SEE: Where Ham Comes From On a Pig

What happens if you eat bad ham?

Bad ham has harmful bacteria, and as a result, you may face mild to severe food poisoning symptoms after eating it. Some of these symptoms involve;

  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Fever.

These symptoms will make you feel uncomfortable. You might need a few days to overcome these symptoms with a healthy diet. But if the symptoms become severe, it is advisable to see the doctor for proper counseling.

SEE: What Happens If You Eat Black Mold?

How can you store purchased ham?

Storing ham in the right way is essential to eating healthily. If you purchase ham, you can keep them in;

The fridge

You can place the ham in the fridge with the package, or take it out of the box, wrap it in aluminum foil paper and place it in the refrigerator. Fridge-stored ham can last up to 3 – 5 days.

The freezer

You can also store the original package or wrap the ham in aluminum foil and place it in the freezer. Make sure you cover it tightly to keep its moisture. Ham can last more than 2 months in the freezer.

How can you store leftover ham?

If you have leftover ham, it is advisable not to leave it for more than two hours at room temperature as this might expose it to bacteria. Quickly put the leftover ham in a closed box and store it in the fridge or freezer.
Leftover ham can last 3 days in the fridge and 2 months in the freezer.

SEE: Meals You Can Make With Leftover Meatloaf

How to thaw frozen ham safely

To thaw frozen ham, place the frozen ham in a refrigerator for 6 – 8 hours. After that, put the ham in a microwave oven, set it to high, and microwave for 3 minutes.

How to cook ham

Cooking ham is a straightforward task. Follow these steps;

  • Remove the skin before cooking
  • Cut the ham into slices
  • Cook the ham over medium heat for 15 – 20 minutes per pound
  • Serve hot.

SEE: How Long Does Sliced Ham Last

Some healthy tips to making ham more delicious

  1. Lower the saltiness in the ham. You can soak or wash the ham with water before cooking it.
  2. Do not marinate your ham with sauce because ham already has a good flavor.
  3. Do not cook your ham for too long. It will result in the ham being too dry, which may alter its taste.
  4. To cook your ham evenly, make sure the temperature of the ham reaches 140 degrees.
  5. Cooked ham can be cut more quickly when it is cold.

SEE: How to Know if Meat is Properly Cooked


How long does ham last once open?

Once the package is opened, ham lasts for 5 – 7 days. To maximize the shelf life, keep it in an airtight container and store it in a fridge or freezer.

Can you eat ham that has been frozen for a year?

Yes, you can. Frozen ham remains safe indefinitely. However, its quality may have been reduced.

What does spoilt ham smell like?

A spoilt ham has a sulfur-type odor.

Why do you have stomach pains after eating ham?

You might be experiencing this symptom because you ate spoilt ham. If this symptom continues, you should see a doctor right away.


Ham is a common side dish in many households. With ham, you can make many dishes that are good for your health. However, you must know that ham has a short shelf life and can be spoilt if stored inappropriately.

Ham is an excellent source of protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, and riboflavin. Knowing how to distinguish between spoilt ham and fresh ham is very important as it impacts your health and food flavor.

If you enjoyed this article, you should see if you can refreeze ham even after thawing it.

Thank you for reading.