Can you get sick from eating expired food?

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

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

Can you get sick from eating expired food?

When it comes to the consumption of expired foods, in the best case scenario nothing will happen but in the worst-case scenario, you will fall victim to food poisoning.

Moreover, whether you will get sick from eating expired food or not depends on the type of food. For instance, in the case of the meat or seafood that has gone bad, devouring such meat can cause food poisoning. While on the other hand, when it comes to expired chips, snacks, or candies, the consumption of such food won’t cause any serious health implications as long as there are no signs of spoilage associated with them.

There can be many food-borne pathogens present in the food that has gone bad (especially in the case of perishable food commodities like meat, seafood, etc.) like Salmonella, Listeria, and Staphylococcus aureus, E.coli, Clostridium perfringens, Shigella, etc. which are the main culprits of food poisoning.

So if you have devoured food that has gone bad and has become bacteria-laden, 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 food often causes diarrhea.
  1. Food poisoning after consuming bad food is characterized by abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is also accompanied by vomiting and nausea in most cases.
  1. If you have consumed food 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 food 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 bacteria-laden expired food 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 a case, you should seek medical help immediately.

No doubt that consuming bacteria-laden food will induce food poisoning in the individuals that consume them but some vulnerable populations are more prone to food poisoning if they consume bad food. 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 meat they are going to consume is good or spoiled.

You should do the sensory evaluation of the food, before deciding whether or not you are going to eat them.

You can read more about the food-borne pathogens here.

It is worth mentioning that in the case of the infant formula, once it gets expired, the nutritional content of the infant formula also begins to deteriorate. It is worth mentioning that the federal regulations require a “use-by” date on the product label and it is recommended to use the infant formula before the “use-by” date as the nutritional content of the infant formula begins to degrade.

The same happens in case of the fruits and vegetables, and with time the nutritional content of the fruit and vegetables begin to degrade.

It is worth mentioning that in the case of most foods, instead of the “expiration date”, you will find a “best by” or “best before” date written on them. The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the packaging of food refers to more of quality rather than safety so the food doesn’t necessarily 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 the food but you can still eat food that is past this date as long as it was stored properly and there ar4e no signs of spoilage associated with it.

Thus, you should consider the appearance, color, smell, and texture of the food commodity to reach a final verdict on whether or not it is still suitable to consume.

Conclusion

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

Citations

https://www.insider.com/what-happens-if-you-eat-food-that-went-bad-2019-2#:~:text=%22If%20you%20do%20eat%20a,diarrhea%2C%20nausea%2C%20and%20vomiting.

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

https://www.eatthis.com/eating-expired-foods/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/480566-effects-of-expired-foods/

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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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