Can you get sick from eating expired tofu?

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

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

Can you get sick from eating expired tofu?

Eating expired tofu that has gone bad can put you at the risk of many foodborne illnesses especially food poisoning.

But it is worth mentioning that instead of the “expiration date”, you will find a “best by” or “best before date” written on the packet of tofu. 

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

Generally, tofu lasts for about 3-5 days in the fridge after it is opened when stored at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the fridge. Cooked tofu can last for as long as is the shelf life of the fastest expiring ingredient of the recipe.  Approximately cooked tofu lasts for around 4-5 days if it is stored at approximately 40°F or below in the fridge.

You should do a sensory evaluation of your tofu to reach a final verdict if it is still safe to consume or not.

Certain indicators point out bad tofu. You should consider the appearance, texture, and smell of the tofu to reach a final verdict whether or not it has gone bad.

Appearance

If you spot greenish-blue molds on your tofu, then the best thing you can do is to get rid of the tofu as it is an indication of bad tofu.

Texture

If the tofu has already curdled, has softened too much, and is not firm then it means that your tofu has gone bad. Moreover, the slimy texture also points out that tofu has gone bad.

Smell

If you can smell something acidic or sour then it means that your tofu has gone bad and you should discard it. Smelling a pungent smell is also an indication that the tofu has gone bad.

Tofu is a highly nutritious commodity and has many macro and micronutrients present in its formulation. But at the same time, it is a highly perishable commodity and if it is not stored properly then there are great chances that bacteria will find their way to it and spoil it.

It is worth mentioning that whenever you consume a food that is contaminated with bacteria and other microbes, there is a deferral before symptoms of illness become clear, which may last from hours to days, contingent on how many microbes and what sort of microorganisms has been consumed by you. 

Food poisoning after the consumption of expired or bad tofu is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, weakness, and mild fever. 

  1. Diarrhea is an indication of the body that a certain obnoxious agent has entered it. So consumption of expired tofu often causes diarrhea. Therefore you should drink plenty of water to compensate for the water loss that the body experiences owing to diarrhea.
  1. Food poisoning after consuming tofu that has expired is characterized by abdominal pain. Abdominal pain and cramps may likewise take place in the wake of devouring expired tofu. 
  1. If you have consumed tofu that has gone bad 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 tofu that has expired 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.

Persistent vomiting and diarrhea can result in electrolyte imbalance in the body as well as it can lead to severe dehydration, dizziness, flushed skin, and weakness. It is advised to drink plenty of water to save the body from dehydration as severe dehydration can even lead to shock.

No doubt any person who consumes bad tofu will be at risk of such health implications but there are special populations that are more vulnerable to food poisoning and its negative impacts. 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.

Tips to properly store tofu

  1. You should store your tofu in an air-tight container in the fridge once it gets opened. It is recommended to even store your unopened tofu in the fridge.
  1. You should always store your tofu at 40°F or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore it is always advised to store your cooked tofu at a lower temperature.
  1. You can also freeze tofu in plastic freezer bags to prolong its shelf life. If you want to store tofu in the freezer it is recommended to press it to drain the excess water out of it. Whether you want to store the tofu in the fridge or freezer, you should always store it in an air-tight container or zip-lock bag.
  1. Store the tofu in small batches in shallow containers.
  1. In the case of cooked tofu, always let tofu cool before storing it in the air-tight container or plastic zipper bag.

You can read how to make baked tofu nuggets here.

Conclusion

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

Citations

https://medium.com/@nomealnohealth/does-tofu-go-bad-you-need-to-read-this-b3ace5b76f33#:~:text=A%20refrigerated%20tofu%20is%20usually,to%20that%20of%20food%20poisoning.

https://www.eatbydate.com/proteins/beans-peas/how-long-does-tofu-last-shelf-life/#:~:text=Interesting%20facts%20about%20Tofu%3A,it%20should%20remain%20remain%20refrigerated.

https://food.onehowto.com/article/how-to-tell-if-tofu-has-gone-bad-shelf-life-of-tofu-10426.html

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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.

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