Can you get sick from eating expired almonds? (3 health risks)

In this article, we are going to answer the question “Can you get sick from eating expired almonds?” and discuss what are the risks of eating expired almonds, how to store almonds and how to know if almonds are spoiled.

Can you get sick from eating expired almonds?

Yes, it is possible to get sick from eating expired almonds. Almonds go bad or rancid when their fatty content oxidizes. However, it is also possible that nothing happens if you eat expired almonds.

Foods can safely be consumed after their expiration date, unless there are evident signs of spoilage, such as changes in the sensory properties of the food (1). 

However, eating a great quantity of expired almonds or nuts is not recommended, as they may contain fungal toxins. Long storage of nuts is a risk factor for the presence of mycotoxins (2).

In addition, expired almonds do not have the same nutritional properties as fresh almonds (6).

What are the risks of eating expired almonds?

The risks of eating expired almonds are both short-term effect and long-term effects. The short-term effect is the risk of having a foodborne illness, due to the ingestion of contaminated almonds by pathogenic bacteria.

Food outbreaks due to the ingestion of spoiled almonds and other nuts have been reported involving pathogens such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella Typhimurium (3).

These pathogens can cause infections, which lead to symptoms such as diarrhoea. The aggravation of the infection can lead to death.

In the long term, the risk of eating expired almonds is the higher risk of developing inflammatory diseases and cancer due to the ingestion of oxidized lipids (4). 

When lipids present in the almonds oxidize, they are converted into aldehydes, ketones and other highly reactive compounds which affect the biological functions of the cells.

Damage to the DNA is one of the consequences of frequent consumption of such oxidized fats, and toxic compounds which can lead to diseases.

Another implication of eating expired almonds is that they may contain mycotoxins. A long storage time increases the risk of the presence of mycotoxins in nuts. The ingestion of fungal toxins can lead to poisoning and liver damage and cancer (2).

How to know if almonds are spoiled?

To know if almonds are spoiled, be aware of the possible signs of spoilage in almonds (2,5,6):

Appearance and texture

Changes in the colour, growth of mould, and damage caused by insect infestation are possible alterations in the appearance of the almonds indicating spoilage.

A softening of the almond (loss of crunchiness) can indicate high moisture exposure and possible spoilage.

Smell and taste

Off-odours and off-flavours caused by the oxidation of lipids are one of the most evident signs of spoilage in nuts. They may also indicate the presence of mycotoxins.

How to properly store almonds?

  • Protect the almonds from the environment, by storing them in food air-tight containers to reduce their exposure to air and humidity (2,6).
  • Store almonds in a dark place. Light can accelerate oxidation and favour microbial growth.
  • High temperatures favour the growth of fungi and should be avoided. However, to store almonds in the refrigerator, it is necessary to protect them from moisture and use adequate packaging.


In this article, we answered the question “can you get sick from eating expired almonds?” and discussed the risks of eating expired almonds, how to know if almonds are spoiled and how to store almonds.


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1. Food Safety and Inspection Service [Internet]. [cited 2023 Aug 9]. Available from:




1. Food Safety and Inspection Service [Internet]. [cited 2023 Aug 9]. Available from:


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