Can you get sick from eating expired peanut butter?

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

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

Can you get sick from eating expired peanut butter?

When it comes to peanut butter, you do not necessarily get sick from eating expired peanut butter. Owing to its high-fat content and very low moisture content, it does not provide a suitable medium for molds and microbes to grow, therefore you won’t get sick from eating peanut butter that is past its expiration date as long as it is stored properly and there is no sign of spoilage associated with it.

No doubt that peanut butter suffers flavor changes over time and also tends to go rancid owing to the oxidation of fats but eating expired peanut butter does not pose health issues as long as there are no signs of spoilage associated with it.  

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

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

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

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

Smell

If you smell something rancid while taking a sniff test of peanut butter then it is an indication of bad peanut butter. Moreover loss or aroma sometimes also indicates a really old peanut butter.

Taste 

You can take a small bite of the peanut butter and if you feel that its taste has changed (sour or bitter) or it has developed some off-flavors then it is better to get rid of such peanut butter.

Texture 

The dry and hard texture of the peanut butter is the indication that it is past its prime age.

So you should consider the points mentioned above before deciding whether you are going to eat peanut butter or not.

It is worth mentioning that in the worst-case scenario consumption of peanut butter that has expired for a long time can result in food poisoning. Three obnoxious agents can be the reason that you get food poisoning after consumption of expired peanut butter. 

  1. Aflatoxins (the amount of aflatoxin increases a lot in the expired peanut butter)
  1. Salmonella (that can even be present in the peanut butter that has not expired owing to the case when the peanuts from which peanut butter is made had salmonella on them).
  1. Rancidness (owing to its high-fat content peanut butter can go rancid after a certain amount of time and eating rancid peanut butter is associated with some foodborne illnesses and especially abdominal pain and diarrhea) 

But the chances of falling victim to food poisoning after consumption of expired peanut butter are really slim and in most cases, consumption of expired peanut butter won’t make you sick.

Unopened commercially processed peanut butter lasts for about 6-24 months when kept in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

On the other hand, once you open your commercially processed store-bought peanut butter, its shelf life decreases and it lasts for about 2-3 months when stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry.

On the other hand, if you are storing the opened peanut butter in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit then it lasts for about 3-4 months. 

Unopened powdered peanut butter lasts for about 10-12 months if stored properly in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat while once opened it lasts for about 4-6 months when stored properly.

Homemade peanut butter lasts for about 1-3 months when stored in an air-tight container at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the fridge.

It is worth mentioning that the figures mentioned above are the estimated shelf life of peanut butter and is the time during which you can enjoy the best quality of peanut butter. Peanut butter can last even longer than this, provided that it is stored properly.

You can read how to make peanut butter cookies here.

Other FAQs about Peanut Butter which you may be interested in.

Can dogs eat peanut butter and jelly?

Tips to properly store peanut butter

  1. Peanut butter should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight and heat. Therefore you can safely store peanut butter in a cool and dry corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.
  1. You can also refrigerate an open peanut butter jar to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.
  1. In the case of homemade peanut butter, it is recommended to store the peanut butter in an air-tight container in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. You should not store your peanut butter in a humid environment.
  1. Moreover, close the lid of the peanut butter jar as soon as you scoop out the peanut butter that you need to minimize the air (oxygen) exposure of the peanut butter.
  1. Do not use a wet or dirty spoon to scoop out peanut butter from the container.
  1. You should always use dry and clean cutlery to scoop out peanut butter from its jar.

Conclusion

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

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/does-peanut-butter-go-bad
https://www.livescience.com/32178-can-peanut-butter-go-bad.html
https://healthyliving.azcentral.com/what-are-the-dangers-of-eating-outdated-peanut-butter-12528044.html

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.