Can you eat 4 day old pasta?

In this article, we answer the following question: Can you eat 4 day old pasta? We discuss several fatal cases caused by consuming old pasta and what makes it dangerous.

Can you eat 4 day old pasta?

You shouldn’t eat 4 days old pasta. The Science Alert portal warns that eating rice or pasta cooked several days in advance can be fatal.

People, in general, tend to take care of meat or fish cooked days ago, but rarely does anyone worry about rice or pasta that have been in the refrigerator for a long time. Few suspect that a potentially deadly bacteria, known as Bacillus cereus, can grow in such food. 

Recent research, published in the journal Nature Microbiology and led by Anukriti Mathur of the Australian National University, warns of the danger of this fairly common bacteria. As Mathur explained, “the known natural habitats of B. cereus are very extensive, including soil, animals, insects, dust, and plants.” It is a bacterium that can reproduce “using the nutrients in food products, including rice, dairy products, spices, dry foods, and vegetables.

By keeping food in the wrong conditions, this bacteria can proliferate and secrete dangerous toxins that are not killed by heat when the dish is heated, for example, in a microwave. In the most severe scenarios, this can cause liver failure and even possible death.

“Bacillus cereus is a well-known cause of foodborne illness, but infection with this agent is not commonly reported because its symptoms are generally mild,” explained the authors of a study on the risk of ingesting rice or pasta cooked several days in advance.

Fatal cases caused by consuming old pasta

Facts of this nature have been described in the medical literature. Thus, for example, in 2005 the case of five children from the same family who fell ill when eating a pasta salad cooked four days ago was reported. The dish in question had been prepared on a Friday and brought out for a picnic the next day. 

Since it was not completely consumed, when returning home, the remains were stored in the refrigerator and served again to the boys on Monday night. All of them suffered from food poisoning of varying degrees, and the youngest son died from that cause.

Bacillus cereus is a well-known cause of foodborne illness, but infection with this agent is not commonly reported because its symptoms are generally mild,” the study authors explain. However, the existence of a fatal case “due to liver failure after the consumption of pasta salad demonstrates the possible seriousness,” say the specialists.

Another commented case occurred in 2011 and was recently reported in the press: a student ate a cooked pasta five days before, which also remained for an indefinite time out of the fridge, and died of liver failure caused by the combination of Bacillus cereus and a cereulide toxin. 

In the same way, cases of death from said bacteria have been described in an 11-year-old boy who ate Chinese noodles and a 17-year-old teenager who ingested cooked spaghetti four days before.

Scientists indicate that although most people who get sick from Bacillus cereus have only mild poisoning, it is necessary to know that it also “can cause serious and fatal conditions, such as sepsis, in immunocompromised people, babies, the elderly and pregnant women.” “Our study shows that the toxin [produced by this bacterium] attacks and punctures holes in cells, causing cell death and inflammation,” they add.

To avoid such tragedies, researchers recommend storing food in the fridge and practicing good hygiene in the kitchen.

Bacillus cereus, responsible for what is popularly known as “fried rice syndrome ”, A food poisoning that can happen after eating fried rice if it has not been kept refrigerated.

Is cooked pasta really dangerous?

Does this case confirm that eating a plate of reheated pasta or rice, if it has not been preserved in the correct conditions, can be lethal? 

Yes, anything can happen as long as there is contamination. Pasta can be the substrate in which a number of harmful bacteria proliferate. Although the problem, in this case, is not the pasta or fried rice, since freshly boiled pasta is sterile because it is boiled. 

The problem is that kept at room temperature can be the object of contamination, which had to occur in the first days after leaving the pasta without refrigeration, so that there was a time of incubation, of proliferation. 

Some bacteria can generate toxins. If this is the case, heating the food is not a solution to eliminate them . The problem with toxins is that they can cause greater damage to some organs such as the kidney or liver, so if it is not treated quickly, in this case, it could cause death.

Conclusions

In this article, we answered the following question: Can you eat 4 day old pasta? We discussed several fatal cases caused by consuming old pasta and what makes it dangerous.

We remind you that eating 4 day old pasta can be dangerous. By keeping food in the wrong conditions, this bacteria can proliferate and secrete dangerous toxins that are not killed by heat when the dish is heated, for example, in a microwave. In the most severe scenarios, this can cause liver failure and even possible death.

If you have any questions about the content, please let us know!

References

Sciencealert.com

FDA.gov

Avatar

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *