How to know if the fruit is spoiled? (5 common ways)

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question “How to know if the fruit is spoiled”, discuss the different methods of identifying the spoiled fruit and the potential side effects of eating spoiled fruit.

How to know if the fruit is spoiled?

If you experience an unpleasant smell or bad taste then this is a sign that your fruit is spoiled. If the fruit feels squishy or mushy, this means that the worms are eating from the inside and have spoiled the fruit. 

If you see any unusual things in the appearance or you spot mold on the fruit then these are strong signs which tell us that the fruit is spoiled.

You should be very careful and never eat spoils fruits as the harmful microorganism growing on it can make you very sick (1-3)

Fruits, like other meals, may spoil and become detrimental to your health. For instance, a rotting peach won’t have the very same flavor or nutritive quality as fresh fruit. 

It may also include mold and harmful germs that can cause food poisoning (4). Caused by microbial deterioration, around 20% of all vegetables and fruits grown annually wind up in the garbage.

Others spoil due to high temperatures, oxidizing, or excessive moisture, while others are infected with germs or mold. Microbes that cause spotting can damage fresh food at any moment during the harvesting, processing, transportation, or storage process (1-3) .

How to identify a spoiled fruit?

There are several ways to identify spoiled fruits, here we summarize the five more common signs you should always check before consuming your fruits:

  1. Mold: If you find mold developing on the fruit’s surface, it’s not safe to consume. It is preferable to discard such fruits. Always examine your food for fungus before consuming it, whether it contains it or not.

Molds produce dangerous mycotoxins that can make you very sick (5)

  1. Smell: Rotten fruit can also be detected by smelling it. Smelling is a popular way of determining whether or not a fruit is rotten. 

Bad fruits have a strong stench and a terrible odor. As a result, it is preferable to discard any fruits that have a bad odor.

  1. Softness: The fruits squish when a little pressure is given to them. This indicates that some worms are eating the fruit from the inside and that it has been inadequately preserved for a long period. 

Fruits aren’t very prone to being crushed.

  1. Discoloration: If you are observing that the primary color of your fruit is being changed then it is probably because it is starting to get spoiled. 

Several microbes attack the fruits changing the primary colors of fruit. If you observe that the fruit color is being changed then it is advised to consume that fruit as soon as possible before letting it get entirely spoiled.

  1. Taste: Let’s say you take a bite of the fruit and notice something isn’t quite right about it. Then, trust your intuition and toss the remainder of the fruit aside. 

If you’re still unsure if the fruit is safe to eat after looking at all of the indicators above, the simplest way to find out is to taste it.

Can you get sick from eating spoiled fruit?

Yes, eating spoiled fruit can indeed pose dangers to your health. While the bacteria that cause fruit rotting themselves may not cause foodborne illness, spoiled fruits can harbor various harmful pathogens, including viruses, molds, fungus, and other microbes, which can make you very sick (1-5).

Consuming spoiled fruit can lead to a range of health problems and symptoms (6). 

For example, if you ingest fruit contaminated with Salmonella, you may experience symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and vomiting (7). 

E. coli infection from spoiled fruit can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting (8). 

Listeria contamination in fruit can result in symptoms like fever, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea (8-9).

In addition to these specific pathogens, there are hundreds of foodborne pathogens that can potentially be present in spoiled fruit (10). These pathogens can cause various illnesses, and their presence cannot be detected by taste, smell, or sight alone.

It is therefore crucial to be cautious when consuming fruits and look for any signs of spoilage. Avoid consuming fruits with an unpleasant odor or flavor, and be alert for changes in texture, such as sliminess or excessive softness. 

If you suspect that a fruit is spoiled, it is best to discard it to minimize the risk of foodborne illness.

Remember to practice proper food hygiene (11), such as washing fruits before consumption and storing them correctly to maintain their freshness and minimize the risk of spoilage and contamination.

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

If you have consumed spoiled fruit and experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, or other signs of foodborne illness (6), it is essential to seek medical attention promptly. 

You should contact a healthcare professional to assess your condition, provide appropriate treatment, and offer guidance on managing any potential complications. 

Additionally, ensure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and avoid consuming any more spoiled fruit or potentially contaminated food.

How to properly handle fruit to avoid spoilage?

To properly handle fruits and prevent spoilage, yous should consider the following six recommendations:

  1. Selection: Choose fruits that are firm, free from bruises, and with vibrant coloration. Avoid fruits with signs of mold, excessive softness, or unpleasant odors.
  1. Storage temperature: Different types of fruits have different storage requirements. Climacteric fruits, such as bananas, apples, and peaches, continue to ripen after being picked. 

Store them at room temperature until they reach the desired ripeness, and then refrigerate to slow down further ripening. 

Non-climacteric fruits, like citrus fruits and berries, should be refrigerated immediately to maintain their freshness.

  1. Short-term storage: For short-term storage, keep ripe fruits in the refrigerator to extend their shelf life. Place them in a perforated plastic bag or a ventilated container to maintain proper airflow and prevent moisture buildup.
  1. Long-term storage: Some fruits can be frozen for longer storage. Wash, peel, and slice the fruit as necessary, then place in freezer-safe containers or bags. 

Label them with the date and freeze promptly. However, note that the texture may change after thawing, making frozen fruits more suitable for smoothies, baking, or cooking.

  1. Handling: Handle fruits with care to avoid bruising or damage that can accelerate spoilage. Wash fruits before consuming, but avoid washing those that will be stored to prevent moisture accumulation.
  1. Shelf life: The shelf life of fruits varies. Climacteric fruits, when ripe, generally last a few days to a week in the refrigerator. Non-climacteric fruits, such as citrus fruits, berries, and grapes, can last for about one to two weeks when refrigerated.

By following these guidelines, you can effectively handle fruits to minimize spoilage and extend their freshness. 

Remember that you should always check and remove any spoiled or overripe fruits regularly to prevent the spread of mold or spoilage to other fruits.


In this brief article, we answered the question “How to know if the fruit is spoiled”, and discussed the different methods of identifying the spoiled fruit and the potential side effects of eating spoiled fruit.


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