How to know if jaggery is spoiled? (3 common ways)

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how to know if jaggery is spoiled”, discuss the different methods of identifying spoiled jaggery and the potential harmful human health effects of jaggery.

How to know if jaggery is spoiled?

The salty taste is the best way to identify if jaggery is spoiled or not. The older the jaggery gets, the saltier its taste becomes.

The major problem associated with jaggery storage is the presence of invert sugars and mineral salts which, being hygroscopic absorb moisture particularly during monsoon season when ambient humidity is high, and lead to spoilage. (1)

cheap storage systems where hygienic conditions are not strictly maintained, which attracts several pathogenic and non-pathogenic microorganisms. 

These contaminating microorganisms and yeast can cause adverse effects on human health as well as on overall appearance of the jaggery. (2) 

 If you feel any bitterness in the taste of jaggery, it is mainly because it has gone through caramelization. If you can spot a mold on jaggery, it is also a sign that the jaggery has gone bad. 

But does jaggery have an expiry date?

What is the shelf life of jaggery?

Jaggery shelf-life is between 6 months to 1 year depending on the final moisture content of the product and the method of preparation. A granular form of jaggery with a moisture content of 1%–2% had been reported to have a shelf-life of 2 years. (3)

How should you store jaggery?

Jaggery should not be kept in moist conditions; otherwise, it will spoil quickly. Jaggery should be kept in average or cool temperatures with a dry atmosphere. If jaggery absorbs any water content, then there is a chance that it will spoil quicker.(2)

Can you store jaggery in the freezer?

Yes,ensuring that the jaggery contains no air or moisture of any type, it can be stored without any physical changes for a period of 20 months at a temperature range of 7-9°C with some changes in physicochemical Characteristics and visual observations along with smell, like old jaggery. (8)

How to identify if jaggery is spoiled or not?

. The signs of jaggery spoilage are:


If you taste jaggery and you experience a saltish taste, then it is because jaggery is spoiled. The older the jaggery gets saltier the taste gets. Old jaggery will also have an unpleasant smell. If you are tasting jaggery and having a sweet taste as it usually does, it is probably not spoilt. If the taste gets salty and have unpleasant smellthen it means that jaggery is getting spoiled.(1, 8)


If you see some mold growth on jaggery, then not consuming it would be recommended. Molds can grow on jaggery when it has absorbed some moisture and got some water content in it.(2)

Physical appearance:

It is a very common parameter in identifying if anything is spoiled or not. If you see any abnormal growth on jaggery, then don’t try to consume it. It can be some bacteria or fungus which can be harmful to your health also.

What are the risks of eating spoiled jaggery?

The risks of eating spoiled jaggery are:

Directly, the fructose component in sugar causes dysregulation of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. Indirectly, sugar promotes positive energy balance, thus body weight and fat gain, which also cause dysregulation of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. 

  •  The prevalence of metabolic syndrome, CVD and Type 2 Diabetes is strongly associated with the presence of overweight and obesity. (5)

If jaggery has been stored in unhygienic places or has some impurities. Jaggery becomes a favorite spot for bacteria, worms, and parasites to grow. If such jaggery is consumed, then it can raise the risk of infections in our bodies.

Some people are intolerant to jaggery and are unable to digest jaggery at all. Hence when they eat jaggery, they have to suffer diarrhea also. (6,7)

Other FAQs about Sugar which you may be interested in.

Can you put powdered sugar in coffee?

How long does sugar last?


In this blog, we discussed that jaggery could get spoiled. 

We can also identify if jaggery is spoiled or not by checking the physical appearance. 

We also discussed the harmful health effects of jaggery such as weight gain, diabetes, risk of parasitic infection, diarrhea, nose bleeding.


  1. Chand, K., Shahi, N. C., Lohani, U. C., & Garg, S. K.  Effect of Storage Conditions on Keeping Qualities of Jaggery. Sugar Tech, 13(1), 81–85.(2011).
  2. Singh, S., Dubey, A., Tiwari, L., & Verma, A. K. . Microbial profile of stored jaggery: A traditional Indian sweetener. Sugar Tech, 11(2), 213–216. (2009)
  3. Suvendu Bhattacharya, Chapter 9 – Sugars, sweeteners, chocolates, and sweet snacks, Snack Foods, Academic Press, 211-249, 2023.
  4. Kumar, A., & Singh, S. The benefit of Indian jaggery over sugar on human health. Dietary Sugar, Salt and Fat in Human Health, 347–359. (2020).
  5. Stanhope, K. L.  Sugar consumption, metabolic disease and obesity: The state of the controversy. Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, 53(1), 52–67. 2015.
  6. BM Lund, SJ O’Brien, Public Health Measures: Food Safety in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings, Encyclopedia of Food Safety, Academic Press,  140-148, 2014.
  7. Kumar P, Mahato DK, Kamle M, Mohanta TK, Kang SG. Aflatoxins: A Global Concern for Food Safety, Human Health and Their Management. Front Microbiol. 2017
  8. Uppal, S. K. Storage of jaggery under low temperature for longer duration. Sugar Tech, 4(3-4), 177–178. 2002. 

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