How do you know if a pineapple is bad?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how do you know if a pineapple is bad” with an in-depth analysis of different ways to spot a bad pineapple. We are also going to discuss the shelf life of pineapple, what affects its shelf life, how to store it and what happens if you eat bad pineapple. 

How do you know if a pineapple is bad?

To know if pineapple is bad you should consider the appearance, texture, and smell of pineapple to give a final verdict about whether pineapple has gone bad.


If you spot a mold or some organic growth on your pineapple, then the best thing you can do in this scenario is to get rid of the whole pineapple.

Molds such as Fusarium species can also produce mycotoxins in pineapples that have gone bad and if you consume or even inhale these mycotoxins they can disturb your gut flora and can weaken your immune system.

Moreover, if you spot some brown discoloration in the pineapple then it is recommended to get rid of that wedge or part of the pineapple. So don’t eat brown discolored pineapple (1,3).


Fresh raw pineapples are firm to touch. So, if you feel something slimy, gooey, or if the pineapple is mushy or limp then it is an indication of a bad pineapple. If you notice some soft spots on your pineapple then it is recommended to cut out those parts and discard them.If your pineapple starts to dry out either you can consume it immediately or you have to discard it afterward (2,3).


If you smell a strong sour or acidic smell while taking a sniff test of your pineapple then it is better to get rid of such pineapple.You should consider the points mentioned above while making a final verdict on whether or not the pineapple is suitable to consume (3).

What is the shelf life of pineapple?

The whole pineapple lasts for about 1-2 days if it is stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

On the other hand, when the whole pineapple is stored in the fridge at or below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, its shelf life increases a bit owing to the cold temperature of the fridge and such pineapple lasts for about 4-5 days in the fridge (4,5).

Sliced or cut pineapples have a shorter shelf life due to the now large exposed surface area, lasting for about 2 hours when left out at room temperature. 

Because of that, you should discard the cut pineapple as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 ° F. So, there are greater chances of the pineapple being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours (5,6).

When it comes to sliced pineapples, they last for about 3-5 days when stored in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag in the fridge at below 40 °F and they last for about 3-5 months when stored properly in the freezer. So, make sure to freeze it to extend the shelf life (7).

Finally, unopened canned pineapple lasts for about 3-6 months or even more if it is stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat. Once you have opened the canned pineapple it is recommended to store it in the fridge (8).

What affects the shelf life of pineapple?

The shelf life of pineapple can be influenced by several factors. Next we separated the main characteristics for you to keep in mind.

Maturity at harvest

The maturity of the pineapple at the time of harvest plays a crucial role in determining its shelf life. Pineapples that are harvested when fully ripe tend to have a shorter shelf life compared to those picked at a slightly less mature stage (9).

Handling and storage conditions

Proper handling and storage conditions are critical in preserving the quality and extending the shelf life of pineapples. Temperature, humidity, and air circulation are important factors to consider. Pineapples are typically stored at temperatures around 10 to 13°C (50 to 55°F). Storing pineapples at lower temperatures may negatively impact their quality (5).

Bruising and damage

Pineapples are susceptible to physical damage and bruising, which can accelerate spoilage. Mechanical injury of translucent fruit can lead to leakage of cell contents. Care should be taken to handle pineapples gently and avoid dropping or stacking them improperly (5).

Microbial growth

Pineapples can be prone to microbial growth, including bacteria and molds, which can lead to spoilage. Proper sanitation and hygiene practices during harvesting, handling, and storage can help minimize microbial contamination and extend the shelf life (3).

Ripening process

Once harvested, pineapples do not continue to ripen significantly. However, they may undergo changes in flavor and texture over time. The rate of these changes depends on the factors already mentioned above (9).

How to store pineapple?

For prolonged preservation of pineapples, it is advisable to store them within the temperature range of 7 to 12 °C (45 to 55 °F), assuming the fruits have reached the color break stage.

Maintaining a relative humidity (RH) of 85 to 95% is recommended to minimize water loss, as higher RH levels are associated with reduced moisture evaporation. When dealing with ripe pineapples, they can be stored at 7 °C (45 °F) for approximately 7 to 10 days (2,4,5).

However, it’s important to note that storing pineapples at temperatures between 0 to 4 °C (32 to 39 °F) for extended periods will impede further ripening and can result in significant chilling injury upon removal from cold storage.

Fruit harvested at the quarter-yellow stage can extend their storage duration by approximately one week for every decrease of 6 °C (11 °F) in storage temperature. At a temperature of 7 °C (45 °F), the maximum storage life reaches about 4 weeks.

It’s important to note that upon removal from storage, the fruit are susceptible to chilling injury, resulting in the development of internal browning within 2 to 3 days (2,5).

What happens if you eat bad pineapple?

Eating a bad pineapple, which refers to a pineapple that has spoiled or is no longer safe for consumption, can lead to various health risks and unpleasant symptoms (10).

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain

The presence of harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria may cause you foodborne illness (11,12).

In some cases, consuming a bad pineapple can trigger allergic reactions in individuals who are sensitive or allergic to certain components of the fruit. Symptoms may include itching, hives, swelling and difficulty breathing (13).

But, if a pineapple has developed mold, such as species of Fusarium, it may produce mycotoxins such as fumonisins which can be harmful if ingested. Mycotoxins can cause allergic reactions, respiratory problems, and other health issues (14).


In this brief guide, we answered the question “how do you know if a pineapple is bad” with an in-depth analysis of different ways to spot a bad pineapple. We also discussed the shelf life of pineapple, what affects its shelf life, how to store it and what happens if you eat bad pineapple.


1. Leneveu-Jenvrin, C., et al. Changes of Quality of Minimally-Processed Pineapple (Ananas comosus, var. ‘Queen Victoria’) during Cold Storage: Fungi in the Leading Role. Microorganisms, 2020, 8(2),185.

2. Hong, K., et al. Quality changes and internal browning developments of summer pineapple fruit during storage at different temperatures. Scientia Horticulturae, 2013, 151, 28 , 68-74.

3 .M. Barth et al. Microbiological Spoilage of Fruits and Vegetables. USDA, 2009.

4. The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stocks. Agricultural Research Service Agriculture, Handbook Number 66, 2016, 491-494.

5. Paull, R.E., Chen, C.C. Pineapple: Postharvest Quality-Maintenance Guidelines. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Fruit, Nut, and Beverage Crops, 2014.

6. What is the “2 Hour Rule” with leaving food out? USDA, 2023.

7. Silva, C.L.M. Home Freezing of Fruits and Vegetables. In book: Frozen food science and technology, 2008.

8. Adnan, S.M., et al. Development and Quality Evaluation of Canned Pineapple. Journal of Environmental Science and Natural Resources, 2018, 10(2):183.

9.  Ahmmed, G., et al. Effect of Maturity and Storage Condition on Shelf Life and Post-Harvest Quality of Pineapple. United International Journal for Research & Technology, 2020, 01, 2020.

10. What You Need to Know about Foodborne Illnesses. FDA, 2022.

11. Strawn, K.L., Danyluk, M.D. Fate of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella on Fresh and Frozen Cut Pineapples. Journal of Food Protection, 2010, 73(3), 418-24.

12. Bintsis T. Foodborne pathogens. AIMS Microbiol. 2017, 3(3), 529-563.

13. Kabir I, Speelman P, Islam A. Systemic allergic reaction and diarrhea after pineapple ingestion. Trop Geogr Med. 1993, 45(2):77-9.

14. Stępień Ł, Koczyk G, Waśkiewicz A. Diversity of Fusarium species and mycotoxins contaminating pineapple. J Appl Genet. 2013, 54(3):367-380.