Can you get sick from eating expired marshmallows?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Can you get sick from eating expired marshmallows” and discuss what are the risks of eating expired marshmallows, the shelf life of marshmallows and the proper way to store marshmallows.

Can you get sick from eating expired marshmallows?

Yes, you can get sick from eating expired marshmallows, especially when the marshmallows were not correctly stored. Marshmallows are susceptible to microbial spoilage due to the contamination by infected ingredients as well as by fungal growth (1,2,3).

When not correctly stored, moisture increases and favors the development of microorganisms. Eating contaminated marshmallows can cause foodborne illnesses. A study reported cases of foodborne illnesses caused by the consumption of marshmallows contaminated by Salmonella (1).

The infection by Salmonella manifests through symptoms such as diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps and can be severe, leading even to death (8). In addition, fungi producing toxins can develop in marshmallows, which can cause diseases (2).  

However, if the marshmallows have been properly stored and no signs of spoilage are noticeable, it is possible that they can be safely consumed (5).

Can you eat expired marshmallows?

Yes, you can eat expired marshmallows, if they were kept unopened and protected from light, heat, moisture and oxygen, unless there are noticeable signs of spoilage, such as changes in the texture, appearance, odor or flavor (5). 

It is not recommended to eat marshmallows from previously opened packages that were not correctly stored or if there are signs of moisture increase (3). 

How to know if marshmallows have gone bad?

To know if marshmallows have gone bad, you should be able to notice the common signs of spoilage, which include (1,2,3,4):

  • Growth of mold: Aspergillus and Xerophilic molds are able to develop in confectionary foods such as marshmallows due to their ability to resist low moisture environments. Mold growth can form visible colonies and colored spored
  • Generation of off-odors: the action of microorganisms in the marshmallow can result in the production of alcohols, ketones and ketones which characterize off-odors such as alcoholic, rancid, musty
  • Changes in the texture: the increased moisture, the marshmallow can lose the characteristic texture
  • Changes in the appearance: the formation of slime on the surface of the product indicates the development of microorganisms 
  • Bloating of the package: the generation of gas is resulted from microbial activity which can be noticed by bloating of the package

What is the shelf life of marshmallows?

The shelf life of marshmallows is about 9 months to 12 months, when kept unopened and properly stored at room temperature. After opening the package, the shelf life is 1 month at room temperature (4,6).

The shelf life of marshmallows depends on various factors, such as (3,4):

  • The packaging material: packagings have different properties, offering different oxygen and moisture barriers. By choosing the correct packaging material, it is possible to extend the shelf life of marshmallows  and polymers
  • The quality of the ingredients: during the production, it is necessary to use high quality ingredients to avoid contamination. A study reported a case of Salmonella food outbreak caused by the use of previously contaminate eggs in the production of marshmallows (1)
  • The storage conditions: heat, light, moisture and oxygen are factors that reduce the shelf life of foods as they favor degradation reactions and microbial growth

How to store marshmallows?

You can store the unopened marshmallows in your pantry or kitchen cabinet easily as marshmallows are one of the shelf-stable foods (7).

Once you open the pack of marshmallows you should transfer the remaining marshmallows in an air-tight container or jar and store them in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

If you want to store your marshmallows in the fridge then it is recommended to store them in an air-tight container so that the moisture content of the fridge won’t mess up with the quality of the marshmallows. 


In this brief guide, we answered the question “Can you get sick from eating expired marshmallows” and discussed what are the risks of eating expired marshmallows, the shelf life of marshmallows and the proper way to store marshmallows.


  1. Lewis, D. A., et al. Marshmallows cause an outbreak of infection with Salmonella enteritidis phage type 4. Communic dis rep, 1996, 6, R183-6. 
  2. Majumdar, Arnab, et al. Food degradation and foodborne diseases: A microbial approach. Microbial contamination and food degradation. Academic Press, 2018. 109-148. 
  3. Ungure, E., L. Dukalska, and S. Muizniece-Brasava. The Dynamics Of Micro-Organisms In Marshmallow Based Chocolate Coated Candy Maigums During The Storage Time. Food Technol Biotechnologists  Nutri, 340. 
  4. Subramaniam, P. The stability and shelf life of confectionery products. The Stability and Shelf Life of Food. Woodhead Publishing, 2016. 545-573.
  5. Food product dating. United States Department of Agriculture.  
  6. Food keeper data. United States Department of Agriculture. 
  7. Van Laanen, Peggy. Safe home food storage. Texas FARMER Collection. 2002
  8. Foodborne illness and disease. United States Department of Agriculture.

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