Can you get sick from tomato sauce? (3 possible ways)

In this article, we will answer the question “can get sick from tomato sauce?” and discuss what are the possible ways that tomato sauce can make you sick and how to prevent getting sick from tomato sauce.

Can you get sick from tomato sauce?

Yes, you can get sick from tomato sauce, it you eat tomato sauce in great amounts or if the tomato sauce is spoiled.

Although tomato and tomato sauce have many health benefits, due to the presence of antioxidants (lycopene and beta-carotene), phenolic compounds and vitamins, the consumption of tomatoes and tomato sauce can have negative effects on health (1,2).

Among these negative effects are diseases caused by the ingestion of high amounts of sodium, harm due to the ingestion of pesticide residue and gastroesophageal disease, due to acidic characterisitic of the tamato sauce (1,2,3).

Excess of sodium

Tomato sauce and other tomato products, such as paste and ketchup are industrially produced and added with a high amount of salt and sugar. It is also acidic.

The ingestion of high sodium foods can cause diseases such as hypertension, kidney diseases and heart diseases. Tomato sauce contains over 1 g of sodium for each 100 g of product (1).

Foods that are high in sodium are processed foods, preserves, snacks and fast-foods, which are consumed in large amounts in the western countries.

Presence of pesticide residues

Tomato and tomato products, including tomato sauce, can contain residues from pesticides. Organophosphates and organochlorines are examples of pesticides that were found in tomato at high levels, according to studies (3).

Some health problems resulting from the excessive ingestion of pesticides are cancer, birth defects, neurological disorders and damage to the endocrine system.

Gastoesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Tomato is acidic, as it contains citric acid and other organic acids, such as malic and glutamic acid. The consumption of acidic foods is related to a higher prevalence of GERD in the population. Possible symptoms are heartburn, chest pain and burning.

Tomato and tomato sauce should be avoided by individuals suffering from acid reflux and other gastrointestinal disorders (2).

What are the other ways of getting sick from tomato sauce?

Other ways of getting sick from tomato sauce are ingesting spoiled tomato sauce. Tomato sauce, although acidic, can be a host of many pathogenic microorganisms.

Poor handling, improper storage or too long storage of homemade tomato sauce or oppened commercial tomato sauce can lead to the contamination of the product by a high microbial load. Consuming contaminated tomato sauce can result in foodborne diseases (4).

In addition, studies showed that tomato (and consequently tomato sauce) can contain a high level of heavy metals, as a result from contamination of the environment. Ingesting too much heavy metals may lead to negative effects on health (2).

How to prevent getting sick from tomato sauce?

To prevent getting sick from tomato sauce you should (1,2,3,4):

  • Consume tomato sauce with moderation, as part of a balanced diet
  • Eat preferentially homemeade tomato sauce with low amounts of salt
  • Wash the tomatoes thoroughly before eating to reduce the amount of pesticide residues on the skin
  • Cook and store tomato sauce following the recommended instructions of hygienic practices and food safety
  • Inspect the tomato sauce before eating and reject what is not appropriate or may be spoiled

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

Can you use marinara sauce instead of tomato sauce?

Can you leave spaghetti sauce with meat out overnight?

What can I use instead of chilli sauce


In this article, we answered the question “can you get sick from tomato sauce?” and discussed what are the ways that tomato sauce can make you sick and how to prevent from getting sick from tomato sauce.

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Zhang X, Chen B, Jia P, Han J. Locked on salt? Excessive consumption of high-sodium foods during COVID-19 presents an underappreciated public health risk: a review. Environmental Chemistry Letters. 2021 Oct;19(5):3583-95.


Salehi B, Sharifi-Rad R, Sharopov F, Namiesnik J, Roointan A, Kamle M, Kumar P, Martins N, Sharifi-Rad J. Beneficial effects and potential risks of tomato consumption for human health: An overview. Nutrition. 2019 Jun 1;62:201-8.


Akoto O, Gavor S, Appah MK, Apau J. Estimation of human health risk associated with the consumption of pesticide-contaminated vegetables from Kumasi, Ghana. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 2015 May;187:1-9.


Colombari V, Mayer MD, Laicini ZM, Mamizuka E, Franco BD, Destro MT, Landgraf M. Foodborne outbreak caused by Staphylococcus aureus: phenotypic and genotypic characterization of strains of food and human sources. Journal of Food Protection. 2007 Feb 1;70(2):489-93.