Can out of date cream make you sick?

In this article, we answer the following question: Can out of date cream make you sick? We speak about the proper storage of cream, its shelf life, and what may happen if you eat expired food. 

Can out of date cream make you sick?

Eating cream out of date does not pose a health risk, and it is unlikely that it will make you sick. But those who consume it should know that when the date passes, the food may not be in its “optimal” conditions. 

In the case of cream, eating it when the consumption date has expired may mean that the food is more acidic than normal and may also have lost moisture and be drier. Besides, it loses aroma and flavor. Therefore, you should respect the stipulated dates and thus make the most of the cream’s potential.

Besides, its probiotic effects, whose value is “compelling” for intestinal flora regulation, can be altered if we consume cream with the last preferred consumption date. The select consumption date marks when beneficial organisms are active, and as the days go by, the amount of microorganisms decreases.

So if you consume dairy that is a day or two past its expiration date and has always been refrigerated, there should be no problem, unless it’s inflated or something.

The problem is that the producers’ expiration date indicates the date on which if the characteristics that they recommend for storage are maintained, according to the nature of the product, the original organoleptic and microbiological characteristics will be held just as they were when they left the factory.

Therefore, after that date, they are lost, and they are not responsible for the deterioration of the product itself and for the negative implications that it could have for our health.

In the case of cream, the manufacturer always recommends keeping it in a cool and dry place when it is closed, and when it is opened, 3 to 4 days in refrigeration; then they can become rancid. The more protein and liquid the food has, as in the case of dairy products, the more likely it is for the development of pathogenic microorganisms past the expiration date. Therefore, that can cause foodborne illness if you wait 10 or 15 days after expiration.

Foodborne diseases of this type manifest themselves very immediately. Approximately one hour after consuming the food you already feel discomfort, it can even transform into an event of explosive vomiting, diarrhea, and that must be treated in an emergency service because it implies significant dehydration. It is necessary to replace lost fluids and all minerals and electrolytes, too, therefore it is a danger.

After the emergency has already replaced your internal fluids and electrolytes, the recommendation is always to have a diet, one or two days, free of the product that caused the problem, but then you can use it again.

Storage and Shelf life of cream

As we all know, the cream is a dairy product obtained from milk (especially cow and buffalo) by sourcing skimmed milk or by extracting fat by centrifugation.

The cream should be kept cold. The higher the fat content, the longer they can last – no more than four to five days. Boxes with super-pasteurized sweet cream can be stored at room temperature until opening; once started, they must be kept cold for a maximum of three days.

The packaging of industrially produced food is always marked with the date of manufacture (at the end of the technological process) and the shelf life’s expiry date.

The cream’s shelf life in a sealed package depends on the manufacturer, specifications, natural ingredients:

  • the product without additives and preservatives can be used for 3-7 days, sometimes up to 14 days;
  • up to one month of cream, which contains preservatives. They are only needed to extend the life of any ingredient.

Opening the package is usually less viable. General recommendations are reduced to the use of a tasty product within three days of opening the container. But on many labels you can read that, with proper storage, the shelf life of the cream in an open package does not differ from the closed version.

The cream should be discarded completely if mold begins to appear.

Cream and cream cheese cannot be frozen because, after thawing, the water and fat separate, and the structure of these foods changes. Instead, they can be stored longer if you keep them in the refrigerator with the lid down before opening the boxes. This will create a vacuum in the cream container that will prevent the bacteria from growing.


In this article, we answered the following question: Can out of date cream make you sick? We spoke about the proper storage of cream, its shelf life, and what may happen if you eat expired food. 

Although it is unlikely that eating out of date cream will make you sick, our recommendation is to avoid consuming expired food. That is because no one can guarantee the consequences of eating out-of-date food: foodborne illnesses. 

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!


Carrillo Inungaray, M.L., Reyes Munguía, A. (2013) “Useful life of food”. Ibero-American Journal of Biological and Agricultural Sciences, 2 (3)

Bosch Collet, J., Castell Garralda, V., Farré Rovira, R. et al. (2018) “Extension of the date of food consumption. Criteria for safe and satisfactory use ”. Catalan Agency for Food Safety.

Soethoudt, J.M., Van der Sluis, A.A., Waarts, Y., Tromp, S. (2013) “Expiry Dates: a Waste of Time?”. Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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