Can you get sick from eating expired flour?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you get sick from eating expired flour” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating expired flour. Moreover, we are going to discuss tips to properly store flour.

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

Can you get sick from eating expired flour?

When it comes to flour, you do not get sick from eating expired flour as long as it was stored properly. 

The only exception to this is if the flour has gone rancid for a long time and there are a large number of mycotoxins present in it (mycotoxins are produced by the molds), then consumption of such flour can trigger nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Certain indicators point out bad flour. You should consider the appearance, smell, and texture of the flour to reach a final verdict on whether it is still suitable to consume or not.

Appearance

So if you notice molds or other organic growth in your flour (can happen if the flour is stored improperly and moisture found its way to it), then it is better to discard such flour. 

Moreover, if you spot weevils in your flour jar then it is better to discard the flour from cleanliness concerns.

Smell 

If you smell something sour or musty while taking a sniff test of your flour then it means that your flour has gone bad and the best thing you can do in this scenario is to get rid of it.

Texture

If you notice that there are lumps present in your flour then it means that moisture somehow found its way to your flour and has messed up its quality.

It is worth mentioning that instead of “expiry date” you will find a “best before” or “best by” date written on the packet of the flour.

The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the package of flour refers to the quality rather than safety so the flour doesn’t go bad immediately after the best before date. 

This date refers to the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of flour but you can still use flour that is past this date as long as it was stored properly.

What is the shelf life of flour?

Generally, flour retains its best quality for about 3-8 months when stored properly in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat but the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality of the flour varies from flour to flour.

White flour lasts for about 1 year if stored properly in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat. Self-rising and whole wheat flour lasts for about 4-6 months when stored properly in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight, heat, and moisture.

Moreover, the storage conditions in which the flour is kept also affect the shelf life of flour. For instance, all-purpose flour lasts for about 6-8 months when stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry while it lasts for about 1 year when stored properly in the fridge or 2 years if stored properly in the freezer.

It is worth mentioning that in case you want to store flour in the fridge or freezer, care should be taken and it is best to seal the flour in an air-tight container to ensure that moisture won’t find its way to the flour.

Moreover, you should never store your flour in a humid environment as moisture, sunlight and heat degrade the quality of the flour and shortens its shelf life.

It is worth mentioning that these figures are just the estimated shelf life of flour and it can last for even longer provided that it is stored properly.

You can read about different types of flour here.

Tips to properly store flour

  1. Moisture is an enemy of the freshness and quality of the flour therefore flour should be kept in air-tight containers or air-tight jars to reduce its exposure to air.
  1. Do not store your flour in a humid environment.
  1. You should store flour away from direct sunlight as the sunlight can destroy the vitamins present in the formulation of the flour and also impacts the color of flour negatively.
  1. Flour should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place. A cool and dry corner of your pantry can serve this purpose nicely.
  1. Do not unnecessarily open the lid of the flour jar or container and seal it again as soon as possible after scooping out the flour that you need.
  1. Once you have opened the package of flour, it is recommended to transfer the rest of the flour in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag.
  1. You should never use a wet spoon to scoop out the flour from the container.
  1. Always use clean utensils and spoons to scoop out flour from its container.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you get sick from eating expired flour” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating expired flour. Moreover, we discussed tips to properly store flour.

Citations

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/a32018422/does-flour-go-bad/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CMost%20of%20the%20time%2C%20nothing,you%20sick%2C%E2%80%9D%20explains%20Knauer.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/does-flour-go-bad

https://www.doesitgobad.com/does-flour-go-bad/

https://oureverydaylife.com/can-use-musty-smelling-flour-34672.html

http://www.eatbydate.com/other/baking/how-long-does-flour-last-shelf-life-expiration-date/

https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/harry-styles-loves-brussels-sprouts-and-this-is-how-he-cooks-them

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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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