Can you get sick from eating expired oatmeal?

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

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

Can you get sick from eating expired oatmeal?

When it comes to oatmeal, you do not get sick from eating expired oatmeal as long as it was stored properly. No doubt that oatmeal tends to go rancid owing to the oxidation of fats but eating expired oatmeal does not pose health issues as long as there are no signs of spoilage associated with it. 

The only exception to this is if the oatmeal 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 oatmeal can trigger nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

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

Appearance

If you spot a mold or organic growth on your oatmeal (molds can grow on uncooked oatmeal only when it is stored in a humid environment for a long time or moisture somehow found its way to it) then the best thing you can do is to toss out such oatmeal.

If you spot weevils or bugs in your oatmeal jar then it is better to toss such oatmeal out due to cleanliness concerns.

Moreover, discoloration in oatmeal is the indication that it is past its prime time. 

Smell

If you smell something foul or musty while taking a sniff test of your oatmeal then it is an indication of bad oatmeal and it is better to toss it out.

Texture

If you notice that the uncooked oats have clumped together then it means that it is past its prime time.

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 oatmeal.

The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the package of oatmeal refers to the quality rather than safety so the oatmeal 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 oatmeal but you can still use oatmeal that is past this date as long as it was stored properly.

Thus, you should do a sensory evaluation of your oatmeal to reach a final verdict on whether or not it is still suitable to consume.

What is the shelf life of oatmeal?

Instant oatmeal lasts for about 1-2 years past the printed date on the package. It is worth mentioning that you should never store your oatmeal in a humid environment because if somehow moisture finds its way to your oatmeal then it can mess up its quality.

Flavored/cream instant oatmeal lasts for about 6-9 months past the printed date when stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

1-minute oatmeal and 5-minutes oatmeal last for about 2-3 years past the printed date when stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry.

Steel-cut or Irish oatmeal lasts for about 1-2 years past the printed date if stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

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

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

You can read how to make oatmeal here.

Tips to properly store oatmeal

  1. Moisture is an enemy of the freshness and quality of the oatmeal therefore oatmeal should be kept in air-tight containers or air-tight jars to reduce its exposure to air.
  1. Do not store your oatmeal in a humid environment.
  1. You should store oatmeal away from direct sunlight as the sunlight can impact the color of oatmeal negatively and also speeds up the rate of oxidation of fats.
  1. Oatmeal 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 oatmeal jar or container and seal it again as soon as possible after scooping out the oatmeal that you need.
  1. Once you have opened the package of oatmeal, it is recommended to transfer the rest of the oatmeal in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag.
  1. You should never use a wet spoon to scoop out the oatmeal from the container.
  1. Always use clean utensils and spoons to scoop out oatmeal from its container.

Conclusion

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

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/does-oatmeal-expire

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/568456/how-long-it-takes-oats-to-go-bad

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

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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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