What do you do if you ate expired food?

In this article, we answer the following question: What to do if you ate expired food? We talk about the symptoms of food poisoning, what to do in case of foodborne illness, and how dangerous it is to eat expired food.

What do you do if you ate expired food?

There is nothing to do if you ate expired food, except to look out for food poisoning symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. After the expiration date, the product may be less good, it would lose qualities, but that should not make us feel bad. However, if you are worried or show symptoms of food poisoning it is best to go to a doctor. 

There are three types of effects of spoiled food: 

  • due to chemical aspects – heavy metals, insecticides, herbicides. 
  • due to physical elements – for example, if a tooth is broken by chewing a very hard and old product.
  • or due to biological elements – bacteria. 

By expiration date, it is understood that a product should not be ingested after it in order to avoid eventual health problems. The expiration dates are put there for something, there is no limit, it is a gamble. There will be expired products that can be eaten and nothing happens to you, but that is playing Russian roulette.

Symptoms of food poisoning

If you did get food poisoning from fresh pasta or rice, the first symptoms usually appear a few hours to 72 hours after food ingestion. Most common symptoms:

  • fever
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • dehydration
  • Feeling tired

The manifestations can be mild or very intense, depending on the person and the pathogen involved.

What to do in case of food poisoning

When food poisoning breaks out, adjust your diet right away. On the first day, eat only liquid foods such as soups or soups to protect the bowel. The next day, reintroduce lean meats and fish (e.g., turkey, hake) as well as starches (white rice, pasta, cooked potatoes) in your diet.

When you feel an improvement, resume eating fruits and vegetables, but only in the cooked form for 48 hours. You can then start eating them raw again and gradually reintroduce the other foods to your meals.

If the toxins ingested are virulent, intoxication may require specific antibiotics, or even hospitalization with gastric lavage, respiratory assistance, and dialysis in the most severe cases.

Fortunately, this happens very rarely. Most of the time, food poisoning is mild and passes by itself after a day or two. You do not need to take medication, but you can take steps to heal faster.

Is it dangerous to eat expired food?

Not necessarily, but it can be. The expiration date marks the limit within which the company that has made the product can ensure that it will not represent any health hazard. After that time, there is no guarantee that it will be safe to eat.

But this does not mean that a day after exceeding the expiration date will make us sick. What she means is that from then on, the longer the time that passes, the more likely it is that dangerous bacteria will start to grow in the food.

Therefore, eating foods that have passed their expiration date can represent a health risk: gastroenteritis, salmonellosis, listeriosis, brucellosis … There are many diseases that are transmitted by eating bad food.

In this case, foods with an expiration date are those that, unlike those with a preferred consumption date, do meet the conditions to allow the rapid and abundant growth of pathogens in sufficient quantities to cause intoxication. They have water available, they have no salt, they are not acidic.

Therefore, the majority of fresh products and especially those of animal origin are those that, once expired, can bring more health problems. The best way to detect that they can be dangerous is because, in most cases, we see that the product has altered the properties of taste, texture, smell, appearance, etc.

Meat, fish, milk once opened, eggs, fruits, and vegetables in poor condition, etc., are usually foods that have an important expiration date to respect. And the best way to prevent food poisoning is by respecting the expiration dates, monitoring personal hygiene and kitchen utensils, and following the storage instructions for each product.

Can expired food kill you?

No, eating expired food cannot kill you, and it is not dangerous. For products that have it, the “best before date” indicates that the manufacturer promises that the product maintains the same properties as when it left the place of production until that day.

In other words, the best before date indicates when the nutritional properties and characteristics such as taste, texture, smell, and appearance will remain intact. But if it is eaten after this date, in no case does it lead to health problems.

Foods usually have a preferred consumption date and an expiration date, although some do not have an expiration date. That means that it will never pose a risk to health, it will simply lose its properties over time.

Therefore, the preferred consumption date, even though it is still determined by microorganisms based on the conditions and factors that we have seen before, the preferred consumption date is not marked by the development of pathogens. That is, even if the date is exceeded, there is no risk of food poisoning.

Conclusions

In this article, we answered the following question: What to do if you ate expired food? We talked about the symptoms of food poisoning, what to do in case of foodborne illness, and how dangerous it is to eat expired food.

In conclusion, eating food after it expires is not dangerous, but it can be. The expiration date marks the limit within which the company that has made the product can ensure that it will not represent any health hazard. After that time, there is no guarantee that it will be safe to eat.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

References

Bosch Collet, J., Castell Garralda, V., Farré Rovira, R. et al (2018) “Extension of the date of food consumption. Criteria for safe and satisfactory use ”. Catalan Agency for Food Safety.

Soethoudt, J.M., Van der Sluis, A.A., Waarts, Y., Tromp, S. (2013) “Expiry Dates: a Waste of Time?”. Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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