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

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.



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 (
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 ( 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!



86 thoughts on “Help – I accidentally cooked the absorbent pad from under my meat!?”

  1. 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. 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.

  3. 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!

      1. I took the pad off the bottom, and it seemed intact, so I thought I had it all. When meal was done, my daughter found a blob of plastic in her’s. I was after eating some. So now, I wondering if it was ok.

  4. 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.

    1. I did it too! This evening! I was boiling chicken to make soup. I tore a tiny piece of chicken to taste it and it tasted really funny. So upon investigation, I found the drainage pad and it was completely torn open and little foam bubbles were everywhere. I immediately threw everything out and called poison control. He asked me how much I ate of it and I said just a little bite and I was told it would not hurt me. I did mention that I had stage four kidney disease and I was worried that it might affect my kidneys. He said with the tiny amount that I ate there should be no repercussions! He told me to just a rinse out my mouth! Which I did immediately after I saw the little foam bubbles. I had no idea this was such a common occurrence!

  5. 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. ?

  6. 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

    1. 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

  7. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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 .

      1. Michelle Lomazoff

        i don’t want them in the landfill….so, yeah. i would like to clean them and dispose where they need to go Paulene.

  10. 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….

    1. Literally me tonight! 4 kids and me ate it and then as I was putting away left over I saw just the plastic cover floating I tossed the rest but worried I just made made my kids sick. They got more meat then the stuff I’m sure but still freaked out.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

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

    1. 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

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

  15. Katharine MacAlister

    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

    1. Yes, good point! Used to always wash chicken but recently stopped because I read you’re not supposed to because you can spread salmonella around doing that, but I’ve also never forgotten to take that pad off before. Think I’ll go back to washing them. Feels weird to me not to anyway as I’ve done it so long and I was taught as a kid to rinse them.

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

    1. 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?

  18. 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?

    1. This is my question too. The pas ended up in the chicken soup, and cooked that way for hours. The pad shriveled but did not break.
      What did you do?

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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

    1. How did you end up feeling ? I noticed mine half way through cooking my chicken and threw it out but later found it broken in the trash. I can’t recall if it broke when I was pulling it out or if it already broke

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. I put wine in the crock pot with the pot roast, I hope it killed any bad stuff. Ate the meat but threw out the gravy anyway. Never throw a meal into the crockpot in such a hurry again. Never throw a meal into the crockpot in such a hurry again…..

  28. Lol this usually happens when we don’t completely thaw the meat. As we are in a hurry we put the meat in a. Pan or cooker without inspecting it.I have done it a few times in the past 40 years and I am still kicking..

  29. It gives me the creeps that they even put anything at all with the meat that may be potentially harmful. Don”t they get the message that after so many people have accidently left it in with the meat and cooked it. It happened to me today, the bag broke , so had to throw the whole thing out. Saturday night and family waiting eagerly for the large lamb roast. In such a busy world we sometimes over look things. So message is to the manufactures, stop putting in poison with our meats, or find a safe alternative, after all they can afford it.

  30. My dog ate a whole large one. 1st time he’s ever got into the trash in 10.1/2 years. I’ve been watching him for the last 2 hours, so far nothing has happened.

  31. I was super worried when I found out that I ate the food cooked with soaker pad, the pad was not intact, the edge was open but after reading the entire article I feel much better. This article was very helpful!!

  32. Our family ate a seriously delicious roast 3 days ago – even second helpings. The last helping that night we saw the black, crumpled film of the meat packaging pad. I can still see it ? in my memory…I pulled it out and immediately was extremely disgusted – as many here can relate. It had a opened along the seam on one side. We’ve had no I’ll effects, but did not eat any more of it.

  33. I just did the same thing with Salmon. Baked it in the oven with olive oil and garlic. The salmon started smoking from the bottom – skin side. I assumed the skin was burning not a plastic pad. My eyes started to burn and continued to burn and water for approximately 2 hours after served the salmon. Later, I pulled the burnt skin off when I wrapped up the leftovers …that’s when I realized I burnt the plastic pad and not the Salmon skin. Talk about carcinogenic. I never noticed a plastic pad in a Salmon package before. I’m so upset that this happened! My eyes are still watery as I’m writing this post.

  34. Cooked some chicken, didn’t realise I had the pad inside. It melted unfortunatel, put the chicken in another pot and carefully got rid of the bits of the pad and didn’t consume the soup. We ate the chicken more because we didn’t want to waste and also, other comments about how some were in a similar situation really calmed me down. We were totally fine, just more of anxiety on my side but in the end nothing happened. Never again will I be so careless

    Much love from South Africa ??

  35. We just cooked a pot roast and veggies in slow cooker and found the pad when dishing up the meal. The plastic had split open but the insides were intact (had a paper like consistency) . We ate it with no I’ll effect. As a matter of fact, it was delicious!

  36. lol Just happened to me, I felt pretty stupid until I realized it’s so common. I’m going to eat it anyway, there are worse things in hotdogs -and I never shy away from those!

    1. So true Nick. I come from the era where we drank out of the garden hose and used the pull-down towels in the public bathrooms. I think we can pretty much fight off anything. LOL!

  37. Just did this last night. I was cooking the first of three Mississippi Pot Roasts in a slow cooker. After cooking it for 8 hours on low I found the pad floating in the juice when I lifted the roast out. The pad was intact, so I went ahead and froze it anyway. So glad I got online before I tossed it.

  38. Ugh, seeing the pad in the meat package I figured it was gone! After an hour in the slow cooker I flipped the pork roast over and surprise another black plastic pad! It was intact so I threw it away and googled this info! I’m still cooking the roast! It was still uncooked on that side so another 6 hours in the cooker and I’m comfortable all will be fine! Thanks for this info and I’m sure I won’t make this mistake again!!

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