Can you get sick from eating old olive oil?

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

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

Can you get sick from eating old olive oil?

No, you can’t get sick from eating old olive oil. When it comes to rancid or old olive 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 old olive oil won’t make you sick.(1)

What are the health implications of eating old olive oil?

Rancid olive oil will lose some of its potent antioxidant properties. While it won’t typically offer the same nutritional boost, it won’t make you ill. Still, to reap as much of its antioxidants as possible, it’s ideal to consume fresh olive oil.(1)

The nutritional benefits are primarily related to the fatty acid composition, mainly due to both the high content of oleic acid and the balanced ratio of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. 

In addition, olive oil presents considerable amounts of natural antioxidants and is considered important in the prevention of many diseases (2)

What is the major factor for the deterioration of olive oil?

Oxidation plays a significant role in the deterioration of olive oil quality. The rate of oxidation is influenced by various factors, including the presence of oxygen, exposure to light, and temperature.

In the absence of light, auto-oxidation takes place, following a free radical mechanism. Initially, the absorption of oxygen leads to the formation of hydroperoxides. 

These unstable compounds further decompose, resulting in the production of a complex mixture of volatile compounds such as aldehydes, ketones, hydrocarbons, alcohols, and esters. 

This chemical transformation is responsible for the degradation of the flavor of olive oil, commonly known as “oxidative rancidity.”

Additionally, when olive oils are exposed to light, a process called photo-oxidation occurs. Therefore, it is essential to protect commercial edible oils, including olive oil, from direct light to prevent this type of deterioration. (2)

What is the shelf life of olive oil?

Shelf-life of extra virgin olive oil has been assessed to be 12–18 months, even if it has been shown that when it is properly stored in well-sealed packages, extra virgin olive oil can reach the second year of storage maintaining its sensorial properties unaltered. (3)

What are the signs of rancidity in olive oil?

There are certain indicators that you should keep into consideration to find out whether your olive oil has gone rancid or not.

Rancid flavor is characteristic of olive oil that has undergone oxidation, with full correlation between the intensity of the defect and the degree of oxidation. (4)

Photooxidation results in a change in color and because of the formation of hydroperoxide decomposition products, it develops undesirable odor and flavor constituents. (2)

  How to properly store olive oil?

Proper storage of olive oil is essential to maintain its quality. It is recommended to store olive oil in a cool and dark location, such as a pantry with a door, a cabinet, or even a refrigerator.

The quality of olive oil can be significantly affected by environmental factors, particularly temperature, exposure to light, and contact with oxygen. 

These factors play a crucial role in preserving the freshness and integrity of the oil both after processing and during storage.

You should store your olive oil away from direct sunlight and heat. As sunlight and heat can increase the rate at which oil can go rancid or stale.

Olive 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. (1-4)

Other FAQs about Oils which you may be interested in.

How long does vegetable oil last in a deep fryer?

Can you get sick from eating food fried in old oil?

Which is the best olive oil for pasta?

Can you use coconut oil in place of vegetable oil?

Can coconut oil make your hair grow?

Can vegetable oil go bad?

Does MCT oil go bad?


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


  1. Natalie Butler, Lisa Wartenberg, Does Olive Oil Expire? Them. Healthline Media LLC. 2020
  2. Gargouri B, Zribi A, Bouaziz M. Effect of containers on the quality of Chemlali olive oil during storage. J Food Sci Technol. 52(4):1948-59.2015.
  3. Sanmartin C, Venturi F, Sgherri C, Nari A, Macaluso M, Flamini G, Quartacci MF, Taglieri I, Andrich G, Zinnai A. The effects of packaging and storage temperature on the shelf-life of extra virgin olive oil. Heliyon. 2018
  4. Cayuela, J. A., Gómez-Coca, R. B., Moreda, W., & Pérez-Camino, M. C. Sensory defects of virgin olive oil from a microbiological perspective. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 43(2), 227–235. 2015.