Food Safety Issues/spiral ham


I purchased a spiral ham and had it in the garage refrigirator and forgot about it.  Today is 1/15/13 and it has a freeze by date of 1/8/13.
I appears to look good, no foul smell but a tad slimy.  I did rinse it in cold water and I am baking it.  It smells great is it safe to eat?

Hi Pam,

Unfortunately, you can not tell if food borne illness bacteria are present by smelling or tasting.

You mentioned that it had a slimy texture.  This indicates that food spoilage organisms were present.  While food spoilage organisms do not make you ill, they are Mother Nature's way of saying -- "I'm going bad -- Don't eat me because I can be masking bacteria that CAN make you ill!"

Is your ham still safe to consume -- who knows?  What we do know is that the ham is 1 week past it's "best if use by date" and the chances for food borne illness goes up with each day past this date.  It's possible the ham is perfectly safe -- and it's also possible that it could have you grasping the toilet bowl.

The recommendation for potentially hazardous foods that are past their "best if used by" date is to not take a chance and pitch it.



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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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