How to know if beans are spoiled (5 methods)

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question “how to know if beans are spoiled”, discuss the different methods of identifying which beans are spoiled and the potential health effects of eating spoiled beans.

How to know if beans are spoiled?

There are several signs to look for if you want to determine if your beans are spoiled or still good. Here are five common signs:

Important: be aware that eating spoiled beans is dangerous as harmful microorganisms growing on them can lead to different health problems (1-3). Do not eat spoiled beans!

  1. Appearance: Spoiled beans show brown spots on them. We can quickly notice that fresh beans are bright, and they snap easily while the spoiled ones are dry in appearance. With time as the beans get old, they lose their firmness. Additionally, if there is mold on the beans, you should not consume them!
  2. Texture: The texture of beans helps a lot in identifying fresh beans from spoiled ones. Fresh beans have a firm texture and are slightly hard to touch. Spoiled beans become moist, and limp showing an incredibly soft texture and shrink structure.
  3. Smell: Fresh beans usually have a very light aroma. We can easily find spoiled beans just by their smell. They give off a foul and odd smell when they are spoiled. Fresh beans do not give off any smell, but spoiled beans have a strong smell like sour, rancid, or moldy. You should always smell the beans before cooking or eating them.
  4. Gas: If your beans have been stored for too long, they may develop gas that you can detect to determine if they are spoiled. Gas is produced by bacteria breaking down the sugars in the beans. These bacteria can be harmful to humans (1-3), so you should not eat beans if they produce gas.
  5. Taste: Tasting your beans is another method to find the spoiled ones. Spoiled beans taste bad and bitter. You must be aware that tasting beans for spoilage is a risky method. Thus, we do not recommend you try this technique. This can cause many severe health issues (1).

We recommend you to trust your senses and not consume beans that look, smell, or taste questionable.

Can you get sick from eating spoiled beans?

Yes, eating spoiled beans can be dangerous as they can contain harmful microorganisms that can cause foodborne illnesses (11-3). 

You should not eat spoiled beans!

Here are some symptoms that someone can experience after consuming spoiled beans:

  • Nausea and Vomiting: Consuming spoiled beans can cause nausea and vomiting due to the presence of bacteria like Bacillus cereus or Clostridium perfringens (4).
  • Diarrhea: Eating spoiled beans can lead to diarrhea due to the presence of harmful bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, or Staphylococcus aureus (5).
  • Abdominal Cramps: Consuming spoiled beans can also cause abdominal cramps and pain due to the presence of bacteria like Campylobacter or Vibrio parahaemolyticus (6).
  • Fever: Eating spoiled beans can lead to fever due to the presence of harmful bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes or Shigella (7):
  • Dehydration: If someone experiences severe diarrhea or vomiting due to consuming spoiled beans, they may become dehydrated, which can be dangerous (8).

What should you do if you suspect you have eaten spoiled beans?

If you suspect that you have eaten spoiled beans, it is very important to take action to prevent any potential health problems.

If you notice that your beans are spoiled while eating, stop consuming them immediately and dispose of them immediately to prevent any further contamination.

If you experience severe symptoms like persistent vomiting, high fever, or bloody diarrhea, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. 

Also, you should stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids like water, clear broths, and oral rehydration solutions, especially if you are experiencing vomiting or diarrhea (9).

Remember, it is always better to be cautious when it comes to food safety. If you suspect that your beans are spoiled or have any concerns about their safety, it is best to err on the side of caution and dispose of them.

How to properly handle beans to avoid spoilage?

Proper handling and storage of beans is essential in preventing their spoilage.

Here are some tips on how to handle and store beans that will help you to keep them fresh and safe to eat:

  • Purchase high-quality beans: we recommend you to choose beans that are free of cracks, insect damage, or signs of moisture. You should look for beans with a uniform color and size.
  • Store beans in a cool, dry place: you should store your beans in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. A pantry or cupboard is a good location for your beans. The ideal temperature range for storing beans is between 60°F (15°C) and 70°F (21°C) (2,10).
  • Keep beans in airtight containers: store your beans in airtight containers, such as glass jars, plastic containers, or resealable bags, to prevent moisture and insect infestations.
  • Label and date containers: to ensure that you are using the oldest beans first, label and date your containers of beans.
  • Use beans before their expiration date: different types of beans have different shelf lives (2,10). For example:
    • Dried beans: dried beans can last up to 1-2 years if stored properly.
    • Canned beans: canned beans you should use them before their expiration date.
    • Cooked beans: cooked beans can last up to 4-5 days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Rinse and sort beans before cooking: you should rinse your beans under cold water and sort through them to remove any debris or stones before cooking.
  • Cook beans thoroughly: Finally, it is important that you cook your beans thoroughly to destroy any harmful microorganisms for at least 2 hours (11).

We strongly believe that by following these tips you will safely enjoy your beans!


In this brief article, we answered the question “how to know if beans are spoiled”, and discussed the different methods of identifying which beans are spoiled and the potential health effects of eating spoiled beans.


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