Can you eat spoiled food if you cook it?

In this article, we answer the following question: Can you cook spoiled food? We teach you about the dangers of cooking and eating spoiled food.

Can you cook spoiled food and eat it?

No!, you should not cook spoiled food and eat it as it can have serious health consequences.

Spoiled food even after being cooked can still contain harmful microorganisms like bacteria and molds (1-3). Cooking spoiled food at higher temperatures may kill some pathogenic microorganism (4), however, it does not necessarily eliminate all the heat-tolerant toxins and heat-tolerant spores that can still make you sick (1, 5-6).

It is therefore not recommended to cook spoiled food. It is always best to throw away your spoiled food rather than trying to salvage it by cooking!

What are the risks of eating spoiled food when it has been properly cooked?

Eating spoiled food (even if it has been properly cooked) can pose several risks to your health, for example:

  • Food poisoning: You can get seriously sick by consuming food contaminated with harmful bacteria, molds, viruses, or parasites (7-8). Many of these microorganisms produce toxins that are heat-resistant, meaning that the spoiled  food can still make you sick even after cooking it (1,5-6).
  • Gastrointestinal problems: Consuming spoiled food has been shown to lead to severe gastrointestinal problems including stomach cramps, bloating, and diarrhea (9).
  • Increased risk of chronic diseases: A regular consumption of spoiled food can weaken your immune system and increase your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer (10).
  • Allergic reactions: The microorganism growing on spoiled food can produce an allergic reaction that can make you experience hives, itching, and difficulty breathing (11).

It is always recommended to avoid eating spoiled food to reduce the risks of health complications, even if it has been properly cooked!

Be aware that depending on the type of pathogen or toxin, eating spoiled food can lead to severe health complications like kidney failure, liver damage or even death (12).

How can you know if you have food poisoning?

Please always seek medical attention if you experience severe or prolonged symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, hives, itching, and difficulty breathing, and vomiting (8).

Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may determine that you have food poisoning and the appropriate treatment.

It may be necessary to conduct blood, stool, and food testing to determine the source of food poisoning (9,12). A urine test may also be used to detect dehydration as a result of food poisoning (12).

How to deal with your spoiled food?

There are several alternatives to dealing with your spoiled food besides cooking:

You can use your spoiled food for composting: If you have any type of spoiled organic matter (specially fruits and vegetables) you can always compost them to create nutrient-rich soil for your garden, and thus get fresh healthy food!

Dispose of it properly: If you cannot compost your spoiled food, be sure to dispose of it properly to avoid attracting pests or causing other environmental problems. You can always ask your local waste management facility for advice and guidelines for disposing of your spoiled food.

Use it for non-food purposes: Some types of spoiled food can be used for non-food purposes, such as using citrus peels to make natural cleaning products (13) or using coffee grounds as a natural exfoliant (14).

Remember: cooking your spoiled food is not safe! Be creative and find alternative ways to deal with your spoiled food.


In this article, we answered the following question: Can you cook spoiled food? We taught you about the dangers of cooking and eating spoiled food..


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