How to know if uncooked dal is spoilt? 

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

How to know if uncooked dal is spoilt?

To know if uncooked dal is spoiled you should be able to identify the possible signs of spoilage. Spoilage in dried uncooked dal, similarly to other dried pulses, manifests by mold growth, generation of bad odors and increased moisture. 

Uncooked dal may not spoil quickly but there are few ways to tell whether the uncooked dal has gone bad or not. Some of the signs indicating that the uncooked dal has gone bad are the following (1,2,3,4):


The spoilage caused by insects can be noticed by the damage of the grains, presence of eggs or larvae, as well as the presence of insects within the grains. The presence of insects is common in grains and pulses that are not correctly stored. Common insects that infest pigeon pea and other pulses are weevils and beetles (1).


Mold growth is noticed by the formation of mycelia and generally is accompanied by increase in the moisture. Discoloration of the grains can indicate the presence of molds or their toxins (3).  

The most common fungi growing on pigeon pea are Aspergillus flavus, A. niger and A. terreus (2).


Dehulling of pulses and other processing operations can cause oxidation reactions resulting in the generation of off-odors, usually characterizing rancidity (4).

In addition, pulses produce naturally off-odors characterized as musty, moldy, earthy, metallic and others, which result from the degradation of its chemical compounds. Intense off-odors indicate degradation reactions and consequently loss of the nutritional properties of the dal.

What is the shelf life of uncooked dal?

The shelf life of uncooked dal varies, depending on many factors. On average, similarly to other dry uncooked pulses, dal has a shelf life of about one year at room temperature (5).

How to store uncooked dal?

Uncooked dal, as any dry grains or pulses, should be stored in a cool and dry place away from heat sources (such as electronic equipment) and protected from sunlight. 

Ideally, you should keep it at temperatures between 50 and 70°F in the pantry and protected from air and insects and from chemical products that emit odors (6).

What determines the shelf life of uncooked dal?

The shelf life of uncooked dal can be determined by many factors such as (1,2,3,4):

  • The temperature of storage: Higher temperatures lead to accelerated degradation reactions and favors mold growth, leading to a shorter shelf life
  • The moisture conditions of storage: higher moisture conditions of storage favors mold growth as well as insect infestation
  • Packaging material: a packaging material able to prevent moisture, heat and oxygen can increase the shelf life of stored grains. 

What are the risks of eating spoiled dal?

The risks of eating spoiled dal are especially related to the ingestion of mycotoxins and their negative effect on health (2,3).

The ingestion of toxins produced by fungi can cause diarrhea, respiratory allergies, immune dysfunctions and diseases such as cancer. Fungal toxins can lead to damage of the liver and kidney and birth defect, in the case of pregnant women who are exposed to fungal toxins (7).


In this article, we discussed how to identify spoiled uncooked dal, what factors may determine the shelf life of uncooked dal and how to store dal.


  1. Banga, K. S., et al. Major insects of stored food grains. Int J Chem Stud, 2020, 8, 2380-2384. 
  2. Vales, M. I., et al. Effective and economic storage of pigeonpea seed in triple layer plastic bags. J stored prod res, 2014, 58, 29-38.  
  3. Acuña‐Gutiérrez, Catalina, Víctor M. Jiménez, and Joachim Müller. Occurrence of mycotoxins in pulses. Comprehen Rev Food Sci Food Safe, 2022, 21, 4002-4017.  
  4. Roland, Wibke SU, et al. Flavor aspects of pulse ingredients. Cereal Chem, 2017, 94, 58-65.  
  5. Foodkeeper. United States Department of Agriculture.  
  6. Van Laanen, Peggy. Safe home food storage. Texas Farmer Collection. 200  
  7. Bryden, Wayne L. Mycotoxins in the food chain: human health implications. Asia Pacific j clin nutr, 2007, 16, 95-101.

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