Can you eat 4 day old pasta? (3+ signs of spoilage)

In this article, we will answer the following question: “Can you eat 4 day old pasta?” and discuss the shelf life of pasta, how to know if pasta is spoiled and what are the risks of eating spoiled pasta.

Can you eat 4 day old pasta?

Yes, you can eat 4 day old pasta, when you have cooked pasta that has been stored in the refrigerator during the entire storage time and does not show any sign of spoilage. Cooked pasta, as any other leftover foods, has a shelf life of about 3 to 4 days (1).

In the case of uncooked fresh pasta, you should not eat it, because the recommended shelf life of fresh pasta is 2 days (2). An elevated microbial load is found in fresh pasta on the third day of storage. Fresh pasta is a high moisture food and favors the growth of several microorganisms.

Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus and molds can contaminate pasta, leading to changes in the nutritional properties, and sensory properties, such as flavor, aroma and texture (2,3).

How to know if pasta is spoiled?

To know if pasta is spoiled, you should be aware of the possible indications of spoilage, which may include (4):

  • Generation of off-odors and off-flavors: unpleasant odors related to acetone-like, fruity, alcoholic 
  • Production of gas, which can be noticed by bloating of the package
  • Growth of visible mold, which are manifested by changes in the color to black, brown and pink or by “fuzzy” colonies
  • Formation of slime and ropy texture

What determines the shelf life of pasta?

The shelf life of pasta can be determined by many factors, such as storage conditions, the ingredients used, the packaging material and the quality of the production (3,4,5).

  • Quality of the production: a product produced using safe and hygienic conditions, avoiding cross-contaminations may have a longer shelf life. Washing hands, keeping surfaces clean and cleaning utensils will reduce the contamination
  • Ingredients: the ingredients used in the pasta can affect the shelf life. The addition of preservatives or ingredients with antioxidant properties will extend the shelf life in comparison to product that have no additives
  • The storage conditions: the temperature of storage should be kept constant and low. Keeping the pasta out of the refrigerator for long periods or opening the door of the refrigerator frequently can reduce the shelf life of food
  • Packaging: The use of modified atmosphere packaging can extend the shelf life of pasta, as it can reduce the rate of oxidative reactions, as well as the growth of microorganisms

What are the risks of eating spoiled pasta?

The risks of eating spoiled pasta are of having a foodborne illness. Pasta can carry microorganisms, such as fungi: Penicillium, Aspergillus; bacteria: Bacillus, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Lactobacillus, Clostridium; and yeasts: Saccharomyces, Candida. 

The consumption of pasta containing a great microbial load can lead to infections and the ingestion of toxins produced by these microorganisms can lead to poisoning, or long-term diseases (2,4).

The frequent ingestion of fungal toxins can lead to diseases, including cancer and damage to the central nervous system. Foodborne illnesses caused by bacteria can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, leading to hospitalization and even death (6).

One of the most common bacteria involved in food outbreaks related to pasta is Bacillus cereus. To reduce the risk of this bacteria, safety recommendations regarding the proper handling and storage should be followed.

Other FAQs about Pasta which you may be interested in.

Can you bake fresh pasta without boiling first?

the pasta from absorbing all the sauce?

Does Pasta Go Bad?

Can you compost pasta?


In this article, we answered the following question: “Can you eat 4 day old pasta?” and discussed the shelf life of pasta, how to know if pasta is spoiled and what are the risks of eating spoiled pasta.


1.- [cited 2023 Aug 11]. Available from:


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