Glowing Pork Chops

Status: Real
A few Australian consumers have apparently opened their refrigerator and discovered that their pork chops are glowing. This has caused concerns about radioactive contamination. To allay these fears, the New South Wales food authority issued a statement assuring everyone that the glowing is caused by a harmless bacteria called Pseudomonas fluorescens:

"The Food Authority understands that many people would be alarmed to discover their food glowing in the fridge, but we can assure NSW consumers that the bacteria responsible is totally harmless if consumed," Mr Davey said.
"Pseudomonas fluorescens is normally present on meat and seafood at low levels and proper cooking kills it.
"And while most of us would understandably be shocked to see our food glowing, it is important to remember that the micro-organism responsible for the glow is not known to cause food poisoning."

This is the first I've ever heard of glowing meat, but the food authority's explanation sounds logical. I don't think radiated food would glow unless it was so radioactive as to be instantly lethal.


Posted on Thu Nov 17, 2005


I agree Alex. Radioactive things don't glow unless they are extremely radioactive. That is just something Hollywood uses to add visual effect (like spaceships that bank to turn in a vacuum). Another example of how movies and television have reduced the people's ability to separate fact from fiction.

P.S. Don't refrigerators in Australia have lights that come when the door is opened?
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Fri Nov 18, 2005  at  01:32 AM
Yes, Captain Al, they do...that was puzzling me, too.
Posted by Smerk  in  to mischief  on  Fri Nov 18, 2005  at  02:08 AM
Here's an idea: a line of foods that are MEANT to glow in the dark.

I'd eat 'em!
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Fri Nov 18, 2005  at  07:27 AM
It did occur to me when I read the article that I should disable the light in my fridge, just so that I can see the effect. Just think, all these years I may have been missing out on seeing glowing food!
Posted by Fawkes  on  Fri Nov 18, 2005  at  08:40 AM
Its true, and somthing you can test at home! Sliced supermarket bacon is best. Leave a packet in your frigde for long enough, not so long it gets mouldy but to near its use by date take it out and hold it at various angles in low level light. You will see a thin pearlessent sheen on the smooth surface of the meat. Its very common and at these low levels perfectly harmless!!
Posted by Ranatemporaria  in  Soutrh West UK  on  Fri Nov 18, 2005  at  09:18 AM
So what, food has been growing for years!... Oh, you said glowing.

Posted by Fred  in  Fredville, Earth?  on  Fri Nov 18, 2005  at  10:45 AM
Don't mistake fluorescence for radioactivity. Lightning bugs are capable of fluorescence but aren't radioactive. There are certain species of jellyfish with the same glowing abilities.
Posted by Chris Carlisle  on  Fri Nov 18, 2005  at  02:45 PM
Nevermind, I totally misread what you wrote. D'oh!
Posted by Chris Carlisle  on  Fri Nov 18, 2005  at  02:46 PM
I'd like to figure out a way to get these bacteria onto the food after the food has been cooked. Imagine: a romantic dinner for two, lit only by the warm flickering light of a candle and the soft green glow of the meal!
Posted by Accipiter  on  Sat Nov 19, 2005  at  12:42 PM
Many people don't seem to understand that not all glowing things are radioactive and not all radioactive things glow. As Captain Platypus observes, fireflies and jellyfish (and glow-in-the-dark rosaries) flouresce but they aren't radioactive.
As for radioactive things that glow, this is determined less by the level of radioactivity than by which radioactive elements they contain. Even a very tiny amount of radium glows in the dark, but plutonium does not glow, no matter how much of it is present (until you reach critical mass and get an atomic bomb blast, which does give off a lot of light).
Posted by Big Gary, being pedantic again  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Sat Nov 19, 2005  at  01:45 PM
I agree, though, that if this phosphorescent bacterium is really harmless, it would be pretty cool to eat glowing food. I wonder if the bacteria would grow in yogurt?
Posted by Big Gary in Cut and Shoot, Texas  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Sat Nov 19, 2005  at  01:47 PM
I'm Australian and I laughed at this. Haven't seen it myself.

Also yes we do have lights in our fridge that come on when we open the doors. I thought everybody has them?

Why do we have them? Probably so we can see what we're doing when it's midnight and we're hungry... come on what don't you need a light in the fridge for?!
Posted by Soldant  in  Brisbane, Australia  on  Sat Nov 19, 2005  at  10:56 PM
Why is there a light in the fridge, but not in the freezer?
Posted by Shaun  on  Sun Nov 20, 2005  at  03:02 PM
because the evil lurks in the dark cold wasteland of the freezer, that is why you defrost it,

in the safe light and coolness of the fridge is the good

now you know, only eat from the fridge, never from the freezer
Posted by joeodd  on  Mon Nov 21, 2005  at  01:16 AM
The reason for no bulb in the freezer? It's because the heat expansion from the bulb when you turn it on will cause it to explode.

Actually, I have no clue why there isn't a bulb up there but that sounds like a viable reason to me.
Posted by Chris Carlisle  on  Fri Dec 02, 2005  at  02:41 PM
Nah, our deep freeze had a light bulb and it never blew out. I think it's a government conspiracy.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Fri Dec 02, 2005  at  06:39 PM
It happened to me, but with faux crab. One night I made a sandwich in the house and was ate it on the patio and it freaked me out. It was faintly glowing. I called poison control and they explained about the bacteria.
Posted by Ray  in  San Diego  on  Mon Jan 02, 2006  at  10:37 AM
Well, a long time ago, pork was cured or preserved using saltpeter, an explosive mineral used in hand grenades nowadays. It is also phosphorecent, meaning is can absorb light and give it off later. perhaps this is the case and they had old-style pork.
Posted by Billy  on  Thu Jan 05, 2006  at  02:19 PM
Glowing food sounds amazing. I've gotta eat some! I don't have a light in my freezer either.

Posted by Jonny  in  His house  on  Sun Jan 22, 2006  at  05:07 AM
Has the Chris Carlisle who writes in this forum ever lived in SA?
Posted by foxychic109  in  UK  on  Fri Apr 07, 2006  at  11:51 AM
it sounds good,but is ti good for the health or not?
Posted by pork  on  Sun Jul 06, 2008  at  08:56 AM
Yes i do agree that radioactive has to be made extremely powerful for radioactive. And thats how people make it into movies.Yes, at my place when the fridge is opened the light will be glowing on until the power gets off, lol.
Posted by hinduja  on  Sat Jul 12, 2008  at  06:45 AM
Ya its a fact the porks glow and it looks amazing.It is always recommended not to have pork served from freezer any non-vegetarian food is not advisable to be stored in freezer.
Posted by Baked  in  london  on  Sat Jul 12, 2008  at  08:16 PM
Lightly brown pork chops on both sides in large skillet or slow-cooking pot with browning unit. Pour off excess fat. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, tomato sauce, 1/4 cup syrup from peaches, and vinegar. Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper. Arrange chops in slow-cooking pot. Place drained peach halves on top. Pour tomato mixture over all. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours
Posted by asdas  in  sadsa  on  Sun Jul 27, 2008  at  10:39 AM
It may be very beautiful, but I wouldn't dare to eat so strange food...
Posted by Bell heather  on  Tue Jan 26, 2010  at  01:45 PM
Yes, at my place when the fridge is opened the light will be glowing on until the power gets off, lol.
Posted by seslichat  in  sesli  on  Mon Mar 22, 2010  at  01:03 AM
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