Are rotten potatoes deadly?

In this article, we will answer the question “Are rotten potatoes deadly”? and discuss how to store potatoes to avoid rotting? 

Are rotten potatoes deadly?

Yes, rotten potatoes are deadly. Rotten potatoes can be dangerous because they emit a deadly solanine gas that makes the person unconscious and even kills him if you inhale this gas.  

If you eat rotten potatoes, the toxin can cause headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, paralysis, coma and sometimes death. Rotten potatoes have a very bad smell and they can make you sick. The damage can be minimized by using different preventive measures.

Rotten potatoes produce a toxic gas that contains glycoalkaloids. Glycoalkaloid is naturally present in the plants to protect plants from disease and pests. If humans ingest this toxic material even in a small quantity it can cause serious health issues.

Glycoalkaloid is present in sprouts, stems, peels and the green portion of the potato. It is also found in the damaged area of potatoes. To avoid its toxic effect, you should remove these portions.

Rotten potatoes smell

Rotten potatoes smell very bad. The rotten potatoes smell like a dead body. If they don’t smell like a dead body then they smell like poop.

Rotten potatoes taste

Rotten potatoes have a sour and tangy taste different from the taste of fresh potatoes. Sometimes pickled potatoes have the same taste but you are not familiar with that taste.

Do rotten potatoes have a poison effect?

Yes, rotten potatoes have a poisoning effect. Potatoes contain solanine that is also known as potato toxin. Generally, potatoes contain 0.005% to 0.01 % solanine which is safe for human consumption but rotten potatoes contain higher levels of solanine that is 0.3 to 0.5% which is not the safe level for humans. 0.2 to 0.4 grams of solanine can cause poisoning.

Can rotten potatoes make you sick?

Yes, rotten potatoes can make you sick. Rotten potatoes contain potato toxins (solanine) that can make you sick. Solanine amount is higher in sprouts, skin and rotten potatoes. The best way to avoid potato poisoning is to avoid these rotten potatoes.

Rotten potatoes poisoning symptoms include itching and burning sensation in the throat, pain in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea. These symptoms appear 2 to 4 hours after eating.

Can rotten potatoes kill you?

If there is severe potato poisoning then it can kill you. When you ingest too much potato toxin it can cause dehydration, blood pressure and imbalance the electrolyte due to diarrhoea and vomiting. It also causes headache, dizziness, unconsciousness which often leads to death due to heart failure and respiratory centre paralysis.

Other FAQs about Potatoes which you may be interested in.

Are potatoes a fruit or vegetable?

Are potatoes still good if they are soft?

Are potatoes safe for cats?

Is shrivelled potato safe to eat?

You should avoid shrivelled potatoes. They are not safe to eat. The degradation process begins when potatoes start to shrivel. This means that the starch in potatoes converts into sugar.

What should I do if I find rotten potatoes?

If you find one rotten potato throw it away, the rest of the potatoes are safe to eat if they are hard and sound. This can prevent spoilage in bulk. If the rotten occurs due to a fungal or bacterial attack you should discard all the potatoes.

You need to discard the rotten potatoes as soon as possible because delay can affect other fresh potatoes.

If you have rotten potatoes at home, air the room, cover the mouth nose and discard potatoes in sealed bags. Preventive measures are important as toxic gas from potatoes makes you unconscious and even it can cause death if you inhale it in large quantities.

How to store potatoes to avoid rotting?

Fresh potatoes can be stored for 3 to 4 weeks in cool, dark and dry places like a garage. You can store them in a room but their fumes can be toxic so avoid them in the room otherwise it can affect your heart, respiratory system. So, properly store them.

You should sort out the healthy tubers as some of them are affected by late blight disease. Dry tubers can be stored in dark and cool places.

Don’t store the potatoes near the battery as heat can make them soft and they start to germinate. Use a wooden box for storing potatoes. Cover the bottom of the box with straws so they can absorb moisture.

Place the box near the window and keep the window open. It is necessary for optimizing storage temperature. 6 to 10-degree centigrade temperature is the optimizing temperature for potato storage.

Don’t refrigerate the potatoes. Refrigeration can convert potato starch into sugar and develop an unnecessary sweet taste.

Don’t store the potatoes in the light, instead store them in a dark place. Light can initiate solanine formation which is poisonous for us. You can store potatoes with beets.


In this article, we answered the question “Are rotten potatoes deadly”? and discussed how to store potatoes to avoid rotting? 

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.