The pack of pork I bought was leaky, and some of the juices soaked into a pack of flour. I'm wondering whether the flour is still safe to cook with.

What I'm thinking:

  1. The flour will be baked before eating, thus killing any bacteria.

  2. Flour is dry, not a suitable environment for the bacteria, they will be dead before I even use the flour in a week or two.

On the other hand, I don't want to get sick over a 1€ pack of flour. Should I throw it away, or is it safe to consume?

  • 4
    I really think you answered your own question. The value of the flour is trivial compared to the risk. If you were looking at going hungry or losing a substantial supply, then exploring ways to save part of the pack might be an option, but that is really not the case it seems. – dlb Oct 12 '18 at 18:20

Throw it away, it's not worth risking health issues over such a cheap staple. While the flour was originally dry, the pork juice introduced moisture into it, providing a much better breeding ground for bacteria.

Your concern should not be (just) the bacteria, but also the much hardier toxins that they produce--those could easily give you food poisoning, and normal cooking times and temperatures are very unlikely to adequately destroy them.

  • 10
    As a general rule, the toxins produced are often just proteins (Ex. Botulism toxin). To sufficiently destroy proteins so that they're not toxic, you need to heat them far above the "burn" temperature of almost any food - if you don't know the specific proteins, you probably need to hit autoclave temperatures to be sure. At that point you have a nice charred pile of ash instead of whatever you were cooking. – Monica Apologists Get Out Oct 12 '18 at 18:29
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    I also want to add that we do know bacteria can survive in flour so it's not really safe to consume flour raw anyway; raw flour is dangerous beyond just being a choking hazard. – user63835 Oct 12 '18 at 19:36
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    I wasn't aware that those toxins would appear in flour. I thought they were a result of the meat decaying, and wouldn't be an issue with plant-based products. The flour has been thrown away. – ersu Oct 13 '18 at 12:38
  • @ersu They are a result of the meat decaying, but the reason the meat decays is that the bacteria are eating it. And what keeps the flour from decaying is that it's dry, imagine living on a huge pile of sugar without a sip of water - you wouldn't last very long ;-) If you want to know more, search for "water activity" using your search engine of choice. – JohnEye Oct 15 '18 at 15:59

But the flour is not dry if it has pork juice. Pork juice is only good for 4 hours at room temperature.

If only a small part is damp MAYBE you could just throw that out. You are still taking a risk.

The safe bet is to just throw it out. If it is only slight damp at one end or the other immediately when I got home I would open from the other end, pour out half, and discard the bag. You don't want to pour out the contaminated end as then the salvage flour would pass the contaminated bag. I am not recommending you do that. Just what I would do.

The store should not have put the pork in the same bag as the flour and for sure not on top.

  • Down votes care to comment. I should help the OP. – paparazzo Oct 12 '18 at 18:22
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    The first paragraph was good. The second paragraph was less good. – stannius Oct 12 '18 at 18:43
  • @stannius OK. I emphasized MAYBE. If the top was barely damp I personally would be OK with open from the bottom and pour out half. – paparazzo Oct 12 '18 at 18:47
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    Well, it's possibly safer than trying to remove the moldy part of bread. It also depends on how long it was wet, another important point you mentioned in your answer. If it was only wet for less than 4 hours so far, could OP freeze it and then use it later? – stannius Oct 12 '18 at 18:50
  • @stannius I would not want to to be wet for more than 30 - 60 minutes and would discard the bag. – paparazzo Oct 12 '18 at 19:26

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