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What is white stuff on pork?

Pork is a common meat that many people enjoy cooking and eating. However, raw pork often has a white substance on the surface that some find unappealing or concerning. This white stuff is actually quite normal and nothing to worry about. Here’s an in-depth look at what the white stuff on pork is and whether it’s safe to eat.

The White Substance is Called Albumen

The white substance frequently seen on raw pork is called albumen. Albumen is a protein that is found in egg whites, but it’s also naturally present in pork and other meats.

In pork, albumen accumulates on the surface in the form of a sticky, white fluid. You’ll usually see it on freshly cut surfaces of pork like chops, roasts, and tenderloins. It may look somewhat similar to fat, but fat has a more solid texture and often a yellowish tint.

Albumen is water-soluble, so it can make raw pork appear moist or wet. When pork is cooked, the albumen coagulates and becomes firmer and opaque. This changes the texture, but it remains perfectly safe to eat.

Why Does Raw Pork Have Albumen?

All animal muscle tissue contains albumen, but it is especially abundant in pork. Albumen accumulates on the surface of pork because of the structure of the meat.

Pork muscle fibers are bundled into groups called fascicles. Between these bundles is a protein-rich fluid, which is mainly albumen. When meat is cut, the albumen is released from between the fascicles and leaks out onto the surface of the meat.

The amount of albumen varies between different cuts of pork. It is most noticeable on lean cuts like loin and tenderloin because they have less protective fat covering the surface.

Is the White Albumen Harmful?

While it may look unappetizing to some, the white albumen on pork is not harmful at all. Here are a few key facts about pork albumen:

  • It is a natural protein, not a symptom of spoilage or contamination.
  • It does not affect the flavor or texture once the pork is cooked.
  • It poses no health risks or food safety issues.

In the past, some people mistakenly believed that albumen was pus or evidence of infection in the meat. This is not true – it is simply a normal bodily fluid of pigs that pools on the surface of cuts of meat.

Is the Albumen Safe to Eat?

Yes, it is completely safe to eat pork with albumen on it. The albumen coagulates and denatures like other proteins when meat is cooked. This eliminates any textural issues.

Food safety organizations confirm that ingesting pork albumen is not a health concern:

  • The USDA FSIS states that albumen is a natural and safe protein.
  • The FDA considers albumen perfectly safe for consumption when pork is thoroughly cooked.
  • Food science experts report no risks from consuming albumen on properly prepared pork.

So you can safely go ahead and eat pork, even if it has albumen on it before cooking. The albumen will denature during cooking and will not have any effect on flavor or food safety.

How to Handle Pork with Albumen

If you find the look or texture of albumen unappealing, there are a few ways to handle it when preparing pork:

  • Blot with paper towels – Gently dab the surface of the raw pork with paper towels to absorb excess albumen. This reduces the moist appearance.
  • Rinse under cool water – A quick rinse can also help wash off some surface albumen.
  • Cut away any thick clumps – Use a sharp knife to trim off any large clumps of albumen that may impact texture after cooking.
  • Cook as normal – Apply your normal cooking method until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. The albumen will denature and turn opaque.

With these tips, you can remove unwanted albumen while still retaining the flavor and juiciness of the pork. The albumen is harmless, so there is no food safety risk if some remains on the pork when you cook it.

Why Other Meats Don’t Have as Much Albumen

While all meats contain albumen, it tends to accumulate more significantly on the surface of pork compared to beef, chicken, and other meats. Here are some reasons why:

  • Less fat coverage – Pork is typically leaner than beef or lamb, so there is less protective fat to cover the albumen.
  • Smaller muscle fibers – Pork has smaller muscle fiber bundles with more albumen fluid between them.
  • Water content – Pork is high in moisture content, allowing albumen to mobilize and pool on the surface.
  • pH – Pork has a pH that enables albumen proteins to readily migrate through muscle tissue.

In contrast, meats like chicken and fish have less circulating albumen and more fat under the skin to prevent excess accumulation on the surface.

Albumen Formation in Different Pork Cuts

While all raw pork will have some albumen, some cuts and portions tend to have more extensive accumulation:

Cut Albumen Level
Loin High
Tenderloin High
Chops Moderate
Shoulder Low
Leg Low

In general, lean cuts like loin and tenderloin will show the most albumen because they have less fat covering. Meatier cuts like shoulder and leg tend to have less buildup.


To summarize, the white substance commonly seen on raw pork is called albumen – a naturally occurring protein. While it may look unappetizing, pork albumen is completely safe and harmless to eat when the meat is thoroughly cooked. If desired, the albumen can be rinsed or blotted off before cooking without affecting the flavor or safety of the pork. So don’t be alarmed by white albumen on your pork – simply cook pork to a safe internal temperature and enjoy!