In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you get sick from eating expired vegetable oil” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating expired vegetable oil. Moreover, we are going to discuss the difference between cold-pressed and refined oil.
So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.
Can you get sick from eating expired vegetable oil?
When it comes to rancid or expired vegetable oil, no doubt that it will have off-smell and off-flavors and will also have lost some of its antioxidant content but eating food cooked in expired vegetable oil won’t make you sick.
Short-term usage of rancid vegetable oil won’t cause any significant health issues but if you consume rancid vegetable oil over a long period of time then it can result in an increase in the number of free radicals in the body that can in turn damage the cells of the body, proteins, and DNA.
The excessive consumption of expired or rancid vegetable oil over a long time has been seen associated with free radicals production in the body that can cause certain harmful effects. The rancid vegetable oil has carcinogenic free radicals in it and if someone consumes such vegetable oil in large quantities for a long time then these free radicals will mess up the normal body functioning.
When it comes to expired vegetable oil, it can undergo either hydrolytic rancidity or oxidative rancidity.
In hydrolytic rancidity, the triglyceride molecule is broken down into three fatty acids and glycerol. This process takes place in the presence of water and results in the release of free volatile fatty acids.
On the other hand, in oxidative rancidity, in the presence of oxygen, the light and heat act on the fatty acids that result in the formation of hydroperoxides which afterward become oxygenated aldehydes.
It is worth mentioning that it is the “best by” or “ best before” date that is written on the package of vegetable oil instead of the expiration date.
The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the can of vegetable oil refers to the quality rather than safety so the vegetable oil 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 of vegetable oil but you can still use vegetable oil that is past this date as long as it was stored properly.
Therefore you should do the sensory evaluation of the vegetable oil to reach a final verdict if it is still suitable to consume or not.
There are certain indicators that you should keep into consideration to find out whether your vegetable oil has gone rancid or not. You should consider the smell and taste of vegetable oil to reach a final verdict of whether or not it has gone bad.
Oil can go rancid and it can develop that unpleasant rancid aroma that is noticeable if you take a sniff test of the oil.
Moreover, if you feel some unpleasant taste or rancid taste while taking a bite of food fried in oil then it means that your oil has gone rancid and it is better to discard it.
You can read about oxidative rancidity here.
What is the difference between cold-pressed and refined oil?
When it comes to the cold-pressed oils then they retain their original organic characteristics like their flavor, smell, and nutritional value while in the case of the refined oils, most of the original organic characteristics of the seeds (including the nutritional value) from which they are extracted get lost. Moreover, cold-pressed oils have a shorter shelf life as compared to refined oils.
What is the shelf life of vegetable oil?
Different variants of vegetable oil have different shelf lives but generally, unopened vegetable oil lasts for about 2 years or even more when stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry, away from direct sunlight and heat.
On the other hand opened vegetable oil lasts for about 1 year when stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.
You can even refrigerate the vegetable oil and it does prolong the shelf life of the oil, but the increase is not much significant, and truly speaking there is no need to store vegetable oil in the fridge, as it already has quite a long shelf life even when stored properly in the pantry.
It is worth mentioning that these figures are the estimated shelf life of vegetable oil and during this time you can enjoy the best quality of vegetable oil. Vegetable oil can even last longer than this provided that it is stored properly.
Tips to properly store vegetable oil
- You should store your vegetable oil away from direct sunlight and heat. As sunlight and heat can increase the rate at which oil can go rancid or stale.
- Vegetable oil starts to lose its characteristic flavor and aroma when it comes in contact with the air and sunlight owing to the oxidation reactions which can ultimately make it rancid. Therefore to seal the quality of oil for quite a long time we recommend you always close the lid/cap of the oil bottle as soon as you are done pouring the oil that you need to reduce the air exposure of oil.
- You can store the unopened oil easily in a cool, dry, and dark corner away from direct sunlight and heat. Thus you can store oil in your pantry, cellar, or kitchen cabinet. You can store the vegetable oil in the pantry even after it has been opened and it can last for a long time there.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you get sick from eating expired vegetable oil” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating expired vegetable oil. Moreover, we discussed the difference between cold-pressed and refined oil.