Can you eat ham when it’s slimy?

In this article we are going to answer can you eat ham when it is slimy? Can pre-cooked ham get slimy? What happens if you eat slimy ham? Why does ham get slimy? How does ham last and store it to last longer?” 

Can you eat ham when it’s slimy?

No, slimy ham can’t be eaten. Sliminess can be a sign that bacteria are growing in your ham. Spoiled ham can give bad food poisoning. 

Can pre-cooked ham get slimy?

Yes, if it has been in the fridge for more than 3 days it can get slimy. Sliminess is a sign that ham is spoiled and bacteria are growing. Even if you wash it or cut the slimy part it is not safe for you to eat. 

What happens if I eat slimy ham?

You can get food poisoning. The two principle bacterias that can cause food poisoning are Listeria Monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. 

Listeria Monocytogenes

Slimy ham can cause listeriosis. An infection caused by eating food contaminated with Listeria Monocytogenes. According to the CDC, about 1600 get infected each year, and only 260 die. It usually causes mild infections that pass between 3 to 5 days. 

Pregnant women and their newborns, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get seriously ill. 

The main side effects you can experience with a foodborne illness:

  • Stiff neck
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms

Staphylococcus aureus

It is a bacteria that can make seven different toxins and it is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. It is usually not life-threatening and causes only mild infections. Symptoms appear between one hour to 6 hours after you have eaten the contaminated food, they are usually mild:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Náusea
  • Abdominal Cramping

Children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women are more at risk of having severe symptoms of SFP. 

Why does ham get slimy?

There are two options if you just bought it, it can have a film created by the fat of the ham or maybe it is bacteria overgrowth. Check smell, color, and texture to be sure it is not contaminated with listeria or SFP. 

How do I know if the ham has gone bad?

First, you need to check the best by date and make sure it hasn’t been sitting in the refrigerator for more than 7 to 10 days. Remember, your refrigerator needs to be under 40 F (4 C). You need to check the following

  • Color
  • Smell
  • Flavor
  • Texture


It should be pink and rosy with a little white fat. If you see anything different like yellow or green, throw it away. 


I think anyone has smelled ham, that delicious pork smell that makes your mouth water. If you smell anything weird or different, throw it away.  


I hope you never go that far and the color and smell are enough for you to know that the ham has gone bad. But you will notice from the first bite that it doesn’t taste any good. 


Ham should be firm and slightly moist. At the first weird smell or slimy throw it away. 

How long does ham last?

If it hasn’t been opened, check the best by date. Once opened or if it has been cut for you in the supermarket, the opened ham lasts for 3 to 5 days as long as it is stored correctly. It also depends on the type of ham and the shelf life mark in the package. 

In the freezer, properly stored, it can last up to 6 to 8 months. Always check the date you store it. 

How should I store ham?

You need to pack it well in a plastic bag, aluminum, or a container. I will recommend wrapping it correctly in a plastic bag or aluminum and putting it inside a glass or plastic container. If you bought packaged ham, there is a chance that it can be resealed. 

If you bought a ham and you are not going to eat it right away, you can freeze it as well. Pack it as if you are going to store it in the fridge, wrap it in aluminum, put it in a freezer or plastic bag, and write the date. 

To defrost the ham, you need to put it in the fridge and let it defrost overnight. This is the safest way. The NHS recommends defrosting ham or any meat in the fridge to prevent the overgrowth of bacteria. 

Here is a full guide to preventing food poisoning

Other FAQs about Ham that you may be interested in.

Can you eat ham when you have diarrhea?

Can you eat ham on pizza when pregnant?

Can you eat ham when breastfeeding?


This article answered can you eat ham when it is slimy? Can pre-cooked ham get slimy? What happens if you eat slimy ham? Why does ham get slimy? How does ham last and store it to last longer?” 


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!