What happens If you eat expired mustard? (+3 Tips)

In this article, we will answer the question “What happens If you eat expired mustard?”. In addition, we will discuss the health consequences of eating expired mustard, how to tell if your mustard has gone bad and how to properly store your mustard to maximize its shelf life.

What happens If you eat expired mustard?

Eating expired mustard may lead to a range of health risks including food poisoning caused by the growth of harmful bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli (1-3). 

These bacteria can multiply in expired mustard and lead to gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps (4).

Expired mustard may also contain mold or fungi growth, especially if it has been stored improperly. Consuming mold-contaminated mustard can cause allergic reactions, respiratory issues, or other adverse health effects in susceptible individuals (5-6).

Another concern with expired mustard is the possibility of chemical degradation or rancidity. Over time, the oils and other components in mustard may break down, leading to the production of harmful substances or off-flavors that could pose health risks if consumed (3,7-8).

Thus, spoiled mustard may have an unpleasant taste and smell due to the breakdown of its ingredients over time, resulting in a degraded flavor profile. Similarly, the texture and consistency of expired mustard may also change, becoming thicker or lumpy, which can be unappetizing.

Additionally, some people may be allergic or sensitive to certain ingredients in mustard. Consuming expired mustard with allergenic components can trigger an allergic reaction, ranging from mild symptoms like itching or hives to severe reactions like difficulty breathing or anaphylaxis (9).

What should you do if you accidentally eat expired mustard?

If you accidentally eat expired mustard, you should monitor your symptoms closely. If you experience any adverse effects such as stomach discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, or allergic reactions, it is recommended to seek medical attention immediately. 

In case of mild symptoms, stay hydrated and consider consuming bland foods until the symptoms subside as recommended (10).

How to tell If the mustard has gone bad?

There are several signs that indicate that your mustard has gone bad or spoiled, for example:

  • Appearance: Check for any visible signs of mold or discoloration. Mold growth can appear as fuzzy patches or green, white, or black spots on the surface of the mustard.
  • Texture and consistency: Expired mustard may become thicker, clumpy, or have an unusual texture. If it appears lumpy or has separated into layers, it is an indication of spoilage.
  • Smell: Take a whiff of the mustard. If it has an off-putting, sour, or rancid odor, it is likely spoiled. Fresh mustard should have a sharp, tangy smell.
  • Taste: If you notice a significant change in the taste of the mustard, such as an overly bitter or unpleasant flavor, it may have spoiled. Trust your taste buds and avoid consuming it if the taste seems off.
  • Expiration date: As previously mentioned you should always check the expiration date on the mustard packaging. Even if there are no obvious signs of spoilage, consuming mustard that is past its expiration date increases the risk of it being unfit for consumption.

If you observe any of these signs in your mustard, it is best to discard it to avoid potential health risks associated with consuming spoiled or expired condiments.

How long does mustard last? 

The shelf life of mustard can vary depending on factors such as the type of mustard, storage conditions, and whether it is opened or unopened (3). 

Generally, unopened mustard can last for about 1 to 2 years beyond its printed expiration date when stored in a cool, dry place. 

Once opened, mustard can remain safe to consume for around 6 to 8 months when stored properly in the refrigerator. However, the quality and flavor of mustard may deteriorate over time, so it is recommended to use it within a reasonable time frame for the best taste. 

It is always a good idea to check the expiration date on the mustard packaging and follow any storage instructions provided.

The approximate shelf life of different types of mustard is summarized in the next table:

Product Pantry (unopened) Refrigerator (opened)
Past Printed Date Past Printed Date 
American Mustard 1-2 years 1 year
Dijon Mustard 1-2 years 1 year
Chinese Mustard1-2 years 1 year
Honey Mustard 1-2 years 1-2 year
Homemade Mustard 1 day1 week-1 year
Dry Mustard 1-2 years —-

Remember that these are general guidelines, and the shelf life of your mustard can vary depending on the specific brand, quality, and storage conditions. 

Thus, we recommend you to always check the expiration date and use your judgment by inspecting the mustard for any signs of spoilage before consuming it, regardless of the stated shelf life.

How to store mustard to avoid its spoilage?

To store mustard properly and minimize the risk of spoilage, you can follow the next guidelines:

  • Keep it sealed: Ensure that the mustard jar or container is tightly sealed after each use to prevent air and moisture from entering. This helps to maintain the quality and extend the shelf life.
  • Store in a cool, dark place: Keep unopened mustard in a pantry or cupboard away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Exposure to light and heat can degrade the quality and flavor of the mustard.
  • Refrigerate after opening: Once opened, store mustard in the refrigerator. The cool temperature helps to slow down bacterial growth and maintain freshness. 

Place the mustard in the door or main compartment, away from temperature fluctuations caused by opening and closing the refrigerator door.

  • Use a clean utensil: When scooping mustard out of the jar, use a clean and dry spoon or knife to avoid introducing moisture or contaminants that could promote spoilage.
  • Avoid cross-contamination: Prevent cross-contamination by keeping mustard away from other foods with strong odors, such as onions or garlic. Mustard can absorb these flavors, altering its taste and quality.
  • Check for signs of spoilage: Regularly inspect the mustard for any signs of mold, unusual texture, or off smells. If any of these signs are present, discard the mustard to avoid health risks.

By following these storage practices, you can help preserve the freshness and quality of your mustard, thus reducing the likelihood of spoilage and ensuring a longer shelf life.


In this article, we answered the question “What happens If you eat expired mustard?”. In addition, we discussed the health consequences of eating expired mustard, how to tell if your mustard has gone bad and how to properly store your mustard to maximize its shelf life.


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