Can you get sick from eating old beef jerky?

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

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

Can you get sick from eating old beef jerky?

Old beef jerky or beef jerky that have gone bad contain a lot of bacteria like Salmonella, E.coli, etc. which can result in food poisoning.

So if you have devoured beef jerky that has gone bad, it can result in food poisoning that is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, weakness, headaches, and dehydration.

A mild food poisoning lasts for about a day or two while a more persistent case of food poisoning can last for about 10 days.

  1. Diarrhea is an indication of the body that a certain obnoxious agent has entered it. So consumption of expired or bacteria-laden beef jerky often causes diarrhea.
  1. Food poisoning after consuming bad beef jerky is characterized by abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is also accompanied by vomiting and nausea in most cases.
  1. If you have consumed beef jerky that has bacterial growth on it 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 beef jerky that has gone bad 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.

So in case you have devoured bad beef jerky and are now suffering from vomiting and diarrhea,  you should try to drink as much water as possible so that while the body is getting rid of the toxins in form of diarrhea and vomiting, the water that you drink will protect your body against dehydration that vomiting can otherwise result in.

Moreover, the symptoms of severe and potentially life-threatening food poisoning involve diarrhea persisting for more than 3 days, fever higher than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, symptoms of severe dehydration, and bloody urine. In such a case, you should seek medical help immediately.

Unopened store-bought beef jerky lasts for about 12 months if it is stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry, away from direct sunlight and heat. On the other hand, opened store-bought beef jerky lasts for about 1-2 weeks if it is stored in the cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry in an air-tight container.

While if you store your opened store-bought beef jerky in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag then it lasts for about 1 month.

It is worth mentioning that you should do the sensory evaluation of the beef jerky, before deciding whether or not you are going to eat them.

Certain indicators point out bad beef jerky, therefore you should consider the color, texture, and smell of your beef jerky to reach a final verdict whether it has gone bad or not.

Appearance

If you spot molds or other organic growth on your beef jerky, then the best thing you can do is to get rid of the beef jerky as it is an indication of bad beef jerky and if you consume such beef jerky, it can cause many foodborne illnesses including food poisoning that is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and sometimes even fever.

Texture

If your beef jerky has hardened too much then it is the indication that it is past its prime age.

Smell

If you smell something acidic, or putrid while taking a sniff test of your beef jerky then it is an indication of bad beef jerky and the best thing you can do is to get rid of it. 

Vulnerable populations

No doubt that consuming bad beef jerky will induce food poisoning in the individuals that consume them but some vulnerable populations are more prone to food poisoning if they consume bad beef jerky. 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.

Therefore such people should take more care while consuming food and should always check if the beef jerky they are going to consume is good or spoiled.

Tips to properly store beef jerky

  1. You can store your unopened store-bought beef jerky in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.
  1. In case of the opened homemade jerky or the store-bought opened jerky you can keep it in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry in a plastic zipper bag or air-tight container but if you want to prolong its shelf life then you can also store it in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. Store your beef jerky in small batches in shallow containers.

You can read how to make beef jerky here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you get sick from eating old beef jerky” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating old beef jerky. 

Citations

https://www.doesitgobad.com/jerky-go-bad/

https://beefjerkyhub.com/how-know-if-beef-jerky-bad#:~:text=If%20you%20eat%20spoiled%20beef,Nausea

https://findanyanswer.com/what-happens-if-you-eat-moldy-beef-jerky

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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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