Help – I accidentally cooked the absorbent pad from under my meat!?

  Posted on   by   58 comments

That awful moment when you first spot it…
You have made a lovely slow cooker meal and you are just giving it a little stir before you serve it, when it appears…
The absorbent pad from under your raw meat has accidentally ended up in your slow cooker – and *gasp* – you’ve cooked it!!

Oh no!
What now?
Is you meal ruined?
Do you have to throw it out?

This actually happens a lot.
More than you’d realise.
At least a few times a week we see a member of our FB group desperately looking for advice on what to do when they realise they’ve done this.
So our goal today was to get to the bottom of it and what it means for you and your pot full of otherwise yummy slow cooked food.

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What are they?
Absorbent meat pads or absorbent meat soakers are the little package that often sits between your raw meat and your butchers tray.
They are essentially an absorbent pad with an often plastic type of cover.
The purpose of the pad is to catch and absorb the liquid that naturally drains from raw meat and would otherwise pool in your meat tray and potentially spill out on you when it was tilted.  It also helps prevent meat from sitting in a pool of raw meat juices that could bread bacteria and reduce shelf life.
The fact they are often black to begin with or soaked red with blood means that it’s easier than you may think to tip your raw meat into your slow cooker from the tray without realising you have tipped this in also.

What are they made of?
The butchers that I spoke to explained that the filling of these packets are usually paper pulp, plant fibers or non toxic silicone. They explained that the fact they are approved for use in contact with food that is intended for consumption, means that have to be of a food safe quality, so are non toxic.
They are not digestible, which means that even if you ate one it would go right through your digestive tract (http://www.tbo.com)
But what about when they are cooked over heat, does that change things?

Do I need to throw my meal in the bin?
The general consensus seems to be the same with everyone I asked – if the pad is broken or pierced in any way, sadly yes you should throw your meal out.
However if the pad is intact you may decide to still eat your meal if you are comfortable doing so.

A manufacturer of these pads (http://www.thermasorb.com.au/) also recommends if they are not broken then your meal is ok to eat.
The poisons information hotline agree.  They said they too get a lot of calls regarding this issue and advise that if the packet is broken your meal should be discarded just to be safe.  However in their experience if the packet is in tact most will have no ill effects.
As it is of course not intended for human consumption and is not a food product there is limited research into the effects of eating it.  From their experience though, at worst those with a sensitive stomach may experience mild nausea or an unpleasant taste, but this is fairly rare and most of their callers experience no ill effects.

So the choice is ultimately yours 🙂

If the pad is broken or pierced we do recommend you don’t eat your meal.

If it’s intact then hopefully the information we have gathered here will help you decide if you will discard it anyway or still enjoy your meal.

Happy Slow Cooking!

 

 

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58 comments

  1. Alex Amato says:

    Thanks for this information… Made a giant pot of Pazole and it was stuck to the bottom. Didn’t realize it until it was too late, days later when I was eating the leftovers.

  2. Monika says:

    Just happened to me tonight=/ my buffalo chicken pasta meal ruined. To be safe, I threw it out.

  3. Penny says:

    I cooked a roast in the oven a few years ago with an intact pad by accident. We ate it and no one got sick.

  4. Naomy says:

    This just happened to me. I boiled chicken and accidentally the pad got boiled with the chicken and tore open. I immediately drained and rinsed the chicken, but proceeded with caution in cooking and eating the chicken. I couldn’t sleep and have the worst migraine right now. I’m wondering if it is due to my consumption of whatever particles are in that absorbent pad. Better safe than sorry, if I don’t feel better going to the hospital. Don’t risk your health and life over something silly guys. When in doubt, throw out!

  5. Ellen says:

    what if we already ate it before we realized it was broken open?

  6. Kaz says:

    Has anyone eaten the food when the bag has torn cause we didnt find it till now and this is the seond reheat

  7. Donna Hinman says:

    My legally blind husband who loves cooking did it today. He ate it anyway. It smelled so good. I started to Dish some out and yelledOH!NO! I explained to him, what he did. I hate to discourage anything he does. I threw mine back in the pot and said sorry. Then got on this sight to see what happens if you consume such food. Then ran to the sink and checked for damage. It was wide open. I took my phone and read him the whole article. What a shame. I hope it doesn’t make him sick. I will watch him close. Thanks for the info.

  8. Geoff Hudson says:

    I cooked a pizza in the oven while it still had the cardboard underneath it. Lol.
    Was good but a little undercooked on the bottom of the base. 😎

  9. Carrie says:

    Just did this. It was already eaten out of then found the pad. It wasn’t torn open and I didnt tell anyone. Oops. First time for everything. Hopefully no one will get sick. 😝 Definitely not keeping leftovers

    • Sam says:

      Did anyone get sick? I’ve just done this. The pad isn’t broken so I intend to eat it still. It was cooking all day and smells so good, can’t believe I forgot to take it off

  10. Shaikh aarif says:

    For soaking pads

  11. Val Cook says:

    We just did this with a chuck roast put beef stock and carrots and onions for tomorrows dinner, I was just breaking the meat apart and found it just floating in the juice, after looking this up, I decided to keep it. It’s in the fridge for tomorrow. Thanks for the info, it was still intact.

    • Karen says:

      Mine was froze onto the roast so I put it under hot water to remove pad it it all fell to pieces and looked like gobs of gel. I rinsed roast in very hot water and put in slow cooker to cook with potatoes onions and carrots. Will that be ok to eat? I’m concerned now.

      • Karen says:

        I just contacted my butcher and explained what happened. He said since I rinsed the meat with hot water that it will be fine to continue to cook and eat.

        • Alexis says:

          Thank you. We just had the same thing happen with chicken so we just rinsed it well and cooked it. Eating it now and it seems fine.

  12. Louise says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one! Cooked a pot roast and only found the pad as I was taking it off the heat. I don’t think it was torn open so I’m going to eat it anyway, I hate wasting food! :S

  13. ian says:

    Weekly Friday night roast chicken , wife spotted the bag all shriveled up when she got it out to rest …. chicken in the bin.

    Not worth the risk .

  14. Michelle Lomazoff says:

    anybody know how to recycle or discard these rather than sending them to the landfills?

  15. Megan says:

    I’ve been googling everything I can think of. What if you dont notice that the broken pad was in with the food until after your entire family ate the meal? Me, my husband & 2 small children are the meat after it cooked with the pad & noticed the broken plastic pad at the bottom afterwards….

  16. Karen Lund says:

    I cooked the pork loin with the pad. Sadly, the pad was broken, so as advised in this article – I tossed the meat. Oh well, thanks for the information. It was very helpful

  17. kim says:

    Hi everyone! I had a beautiful boudain stuffed chicken and backed it . upon carving saw the pad, intact under the meat. I ate the meat and was fine Im assuming because i had water under it and it simply boiled and wasnt torn.

  18. Anna Cauffman says:

    My absorbent pad on chicken was more paper with a piece of plastic under it. I cooked with the chicken, can I use this

    • Anna Cauffman says:

      My absorbent pad on my Perdue. Chicken was mostly paper with piece of plastic on bottom will I be able to use the chicken after cooking pad with chicken

  19. Regina says:

    This sucks. I’ve been cooking and smelling this meal all day…

  20. Ceil Marczely says:

    I finished cooking a ham and found the absorbent pad not intact. All particles floating in broth. Is the ham safe to eat

  21. Katharine MacAlister says:

    So many times I’ve heard butcher say when in doubt throw it out and I just threw out a chicken a brand new organic chicken when I saw this was on the bottom of it in the oven. Of course if I had washed it first I would have seen this thing in anyway lesson learned again

  22. Denise Renner says:

    Thanks for this advise. I, fortunately, have not done this but will be happy with the knowledge that it’ll be ok (if not damaged in any way) to consume the meal should this happen to me.

  23. Aaron P says:

    i EAT One of those some minutes ago, it was chewwy because it was cooked with blood inside of tit, I notices and the I tried to puke but didn-t worked, I spitted all out that I can, stupid pork meat, is almost while when you cooked so I didn-t noticed that pad, I-m so angry, I was missing with the meat didn-t had one of those, it did, but was sticked to the damn meat, I jsut want to eat because I haven-t eated in hours, or may I should give the meat to my dog?

    • I can completely understand how EATING one would make you feel sick (eww) I’m sorry I’ve only seen this msg from yesterday today so I know it’s too late to advise on the rest of it. Assuming it was unbroken etc as per article it’s safe to eat. What did you end up doing?

  24. I browned a Chuck roast on one side before I found it
    One piece was stuck to the to the bottom of the fry but not the.
    Top the pad . I put it in a nother pan and continue . Is ok to use

  25. Kayla says:

    If you cook it with a whole chicken for soup,can you still use the broth? It’s not broken open. I’m just wondering if the broth is still ok after boiling the pad in it?

  26. Shan says:

    Well I did it made a wonderful roast everyone eats then I notice while cleaning up I Left the blood pad on 🤦🏼‍♀️ It wasn’t torn or anything. Hopefully no one gets sick

  27. Elise Rajaniemi says:

    I cooked a honey glazed ham for dinner with pineapple , rice and cottage cheese. We all ate the food. I didn’t notice the plastic thing until I was finishing cutting the meat off the bone…. we seem find. Their was nothing left but the plastic. All the bell stuff was broth…. I’ll try to let everyone know if anything happens to any of us. Take care

  28. Karim says:

    My wife made a roast beef tonight. I had 3 big pieces.. while eating the meat it tasted salty kind of like jerky. After we finished eating I went to do the dishes.. I brought a tupperware to store the leftover meat then I noticed the black pud.. I couldn’t stop spitting.. I just threw it. Although after reading your article it made me feel better.

  29. Bill says:

    I just did the same. my concern would be plastic contamination leaching under heat, but a Kuerig heats
    plastic too and I don’t see people dropping from drinking coffee. I’m going to eat it.

  30. Suzers says:

    We did the same thing last night. My roast had TWO small pads that somehow I didn’t notice and cooked it in the crockpot with the roast. This was the first time I added cream of mushroom soup and onion packet so the liquid was not clear, otherwise I would have saw it sooner. We seem to be fine…other than me who didn’t sleep a wink last night worrying. I didn’t notice u til we were finished eating and putting up the leftovers. I threw the rest out but we had eaten a good bit of the roast and veggies. The pad looked intact but the edge of the plastic was open. That will never happen again

  31. Emily says:

    The pad from the chicken broke and I dumped it out but kept the chicken is that okay

  32. Julie Bailey says:

    I did this. So sad. It was unbroken but I threw it out anyway. I don’t like the words “should” be safe and “most” will have no ill effects, if intact. It smelled so good and I hated to throw it out but it’s not worth the possibility of an upset stomach.

  33. George says:

    I cooked the soaker pad in the fish stew and the pad was kind of open or marshy. I eat the fish but did not drink the soup. I was concerned about the consequences. It turned out that I am fine.

  34. Earthgirl Deb says:

    I just slow cooked beef shanks overnight. And found one unbroken but the insides were melted (I’m guessing) Sigh. It sounds like no one died yet. I can’t believe I missed it.

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