Can you get sick from eating expired deli meat?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you get sick from eating expired deli meat” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating expired deli meat. 

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Can you get sick from eating expired deli meat?

Expired deli meat or the deli meat that has gone bad contains a lot of bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter, or Clostridium perfringens, etc. which can result in food poisoning.

So if you have devoured deli meat that has gone bad, it can result in food poisoning that is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, weakness, headaches, and dehydration.

A mild food poisoning lasts for about a day or two while a more persistent case of food poisoning can last for about 10 days.

  1. Diarrhea is an indication of the body that a certain obnoxious agent has entered it. So consumption of expired or bacteria-laden deli meat often causes diarrhea.
  1. Food poisoning after consuming bad deli meat is characterized by abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is also accompanied by vomiting and nausea in most cases.
  1. If you have consumed deli meat that has bacterial growth on it then you will experience nausea and vomiting which is the natural defense of the body to get rid of the unwanted harmful substance that has entered the body.
  1. Consuming deli meat that has gone bad will also raise your body temperature and you can experience fever which is the natural defense mechanism of your body and is the indicator that something is off with your body.

So in case you have devoured bad deli meat and are now suffering from vomiting and diarrhea,  you should try to drink as much water as possible so that while the body is getting rid of the toxins in form of diarrhea and vomiting, the water that you drink will protect your body against dehydration that vomiting can otherwise result in.

Moreover, the symptoms of severe and potentially life-threatening food poisoning involve diarrhea persisting for more than 3 days, fever higher than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, symptoms of severe dehydration, and bloody urine. In such case, you should immediately seek medical help.

It is worth mentioning that when it comes to deli meat, then you will find a “sell by” and “use-by” date on it rather than the “expiry date”.

Unopened deli meat lasts for about 2 weeks when stored properly in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Once opened, it is recommended to use your deli meat within 3-5 days (keep it properly refrigerated this whole time). 

It is worth mentioning that you should do the sensory evaluation of the deli meat, before deciding whether or not you are going to eat it.

Certain indicators point out bad deli meat, therefore you should consider the color, texture, and smell of your deli meat to reach a final verdict whether it has gone bad or not.

Color 

If you can notice that the color of the deli meat has changed to grey-green or brown then it is the indication that your deli meat is past its prime time.

Texture 

If you feel something slimy or gooey while touching the deli meat then it means that your deli meat has gone bad and it is better to discard it. 

But keep one thing in mind that rinsing the deli meat won’t help you in this scenario as you won’t be able to get rid of the bacteria. Rather rinsing the bacteria-laden deli meat will put you at risk of cross-contamination as the bacteria will spread in the utensils and other food items that will come in contact with the water from the deli meat that has gone bad.

Smell 

If you smell something sour, putrid, or ammonia-like while taking a sniff test of your deli meat then it means that your deli meat has gone bad and you should discard it.  

Vulnerable populations

No doubt that consuming bad deli meat will induce food poisoning in the individual that consumed it but some vulnerable populations are more prone to food poisoning if they consume bad deli meat. They are

  1. Elderly people especially those that are above the age of 65
  1. Children that are aged under 5 as their immune system is weak as compared to the adults
  1. Pregnant women
  1. Immunocompromised people have a very weak immune system and are already suffering from diseases like HIV or the people that have recently got a transplant or have gone through surgery.

Therefore such people should take more care while consuming food and should always check if the deli meat they are going to consume is a good one or a spoiled one.

You can read more about lunch and deli meat here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you get sick from eating expired deli meat” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating expired deli meat. 

Citations

https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-long-does-lunch-meat-stay-fresh

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-poisoning

https://www.insider.com/what-happens-if-you-eat-food-that-went-bad-2019-2#:~:text=%22Perishable%20foods%20like%20dairy%2C%20deli,Petre%20said.

https://oureverydaylife.com/happens-eat-spoiled-lunch-meat-24550.html

https://findanyanswer.com/what-happens-if-you-eat-expired-deli-meat

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/food-poisoning

https://www.thekitchn.com/tips-to-tell-if-your-lunch-meat-has-gone-bad-260374

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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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