What happens If you eat expired soy sauce? (+5 Tips)

In this article, we will answer the question “What happens If you eat expired soy sauce?”. Moreover, we will discuss how to tell If the soy sauce is bad and the proper way to handle and store your soy sauce to avoid its spoilage.

What happens If you eat expired soy sauce?

Eating expired soy sauce has not been associated with severe food poisoning. If you eat expired soy sauce, there are a few things that can happen, for example: 

  • You may experience a change in taste and quality. Soy sauce typically has a long shelf life due to its high salt content and fermentation process (1-2). 

However, over time, the flavor of expired soy sauce can become dull or rancid, with an unpleasant or off-putting taste. This can significantly impact the overall enjoyment of your food.

  • While it may still be safe to consume after the expiration date, there is still a risk of bacterial growth or contamination.

Ingesting spoiled or contaminated soy sauce can potentially cause food poisoning symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps (3).

  • Furthermore, expired soy sauce may lose some of its nutritional value. Soy sauce is known for its high sodium content and small amounts of essential minerals like iron (1). 

Over time, these nutrients can degrade, reducing their potency. If you rely on soy sauce as a significant source of sodium or other minerals, expired soy sauce may not provide the same nutritional benefits (1-2).

To ensure your safety and enjoyment, it is generally recommended to check the expiration date before consuming soy sauce and discard it if it is past the indicated date.

What should you do if you accidentally eat expired soy sauce?

If you accidentally consume expired soy sauce, you should follow the next recommendations to minimize any potential health risks:

  1. Firstly, if you notice any immediate adverse reactions such as nausea, vomiting, or severe stomach cramps, it is important to seek medical attention right away. 

These symptoms could be an indication of food poisoning or an allergic reaction (3-5), and a healthcare professional will be able to provide appropriate guidance and treatment.

  1. If you don’t experience any immediate symptoms but are concerned about the expired soy sauce, it is recommended to drink plenty of water to help flush out your system (6). This can help dilute any potential toxins or contaminants that may have been present in the soy sauce.
  1. To prevent accidental consumption of expired soy sauce in the future, it’s essential to regularly check the expiration dates on food products and dispose of any items that have passed their expiration date. 

Remember that proper food storage and handling practices can also help minimize the risk of consuming expired or spoiled products.

Remember, while the consumption of expired soy sauce may not always lead to immediate harm, it’s better to err on the side of caution and seek medical advice if you have any concerns about your health.

How to tell If the soy sauce is bad?

You can check the following signs of spoilage to determine if your soy sauce has gone bad: 

Be aware that the next signs of spoilage may vary depending on the specific brand or type of soy sauce, and some changes may occur naturally over time without indicating spoilage.

  1. Unpleasant odor: A noticeable change in the aroma of soy sauce, such as a strong, sour, or rotten smell, can indicate spoilage.
  1. Discoloration: If the color of the soy sauce has significantly darkened, become cloudy, or developed unusual hues, it may be an indication of spoilage.
  1. Mold or growth: Visible mold growth on the surface or inside the bottle is a clear sign of spoilage and should be discarded immediately.

Molds produce dangerous mycotoxins that can make you very sick (7)

  1. Strange texture: If the texture of the soy sauce feels slimy, gritty, or has an unusual consistency, it may be an indication of spoilage.
  1. Separation: If the soy sauce has separated into distinct layers, with a watery or oily layer on top, it could be a sign of spoilage.
  1. Taste changes: Expired soy sauce can have a noticeably different and unpleasant taste compared to fresh soy sauce. It may taste rancid, sour, or generally off.
  1. Fizzy or carbonation: If the soy sauce is fizzy or shows signs of carbonation, it may indicate the growth of bacteria or yeast, suggesting spoilage.

If you observe any of these signs, it is always best to err on the side of caution and discard the soy sauce to ensure your safety and enjoyment.

How long does soy sauce last?

The shelf-life of the soy sauce depends on its quality and storage. As long as the bottle of soy sauce is unopened, it can safely sit in the pantry or elsewhere dark, cool and dry. A steady storage temperature is also important. 

Once the bottle is opened, always keep it in the fridge. Do not place it in the fridge door. The temperature fluctuations in this area will rin ist quality quickly. 

However, once the bottle is opened, the quality will deteriorate faster as compared to when it was unopened regardless of refrigeration. 

How to store soy sauce to prevent its spoilage?

Original container 

It might be tempting to pour the soy sauce from its original packaging into a more user-friendly container but It might not be the wisest thing to do. If you want your soy sauce to last longer, keep it stored in its original plastic or glass bottle. 

A constant temperature 

Temperature fluctuations are the enemy of the quality of food commodities. Never keep the soy sauce near a stovetop, cooker, or dishwasher, or anywhere on the kitchen counter where temperature fluctuations are common. A steady keeping temperature is important for the longevity of the soy sauce.

Keep a lid on it 

A lid could be in the form of a screw top or a flip-top. Whatever type It is, make sure the bottle is sealed tightly after each use once the bottle is opened.

In the pantry

As long as the soy sauce bottle is unopened, It can be safely kept in the pantry. Care must be taken If you have a glass of bottled soy sauce. Keep it on the lowest shelf of the pantry to minimize the chances of breaking it in case of an unfortunate situation.

In the fridge 

It is recommended to store soy sauce in the fridge to maximize its shelf-life. Some brands make it compulsory to refrigerate soy sauce. So It all boils down to personal preference and the brand.


In this article, we answered the question “What happens If you eat expired soy sauce?”. Moreover, we will discuss how to tell If the soy sauce is bad and the proper way to handle and store your soy sauce to avoid its spoilage.


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2. Yong FM, Wood BJB. Microbiology and Biochemistry of Soy Sauce Fermentation. Adv Appl Microbiol [Internet]. 1974 Jan 1 [cited 2023 Jun 25];17(C):157–94. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0065216408705586 

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5. Lennard LB. Food microbiology and food poisoning. In: Food & Nutrition [Internet]. Taylor & francis Gr…. Routledge; 2020 [cited 2023 May 30]. p. 132–54. Available from: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781003115663-11/food-microbiology-food-poisoning-louise-lennard 

6. McRobert GR. THE TREATMENT OF BACTERIAL FOOD POISONING. Br Med J [Internet]. 1934 Aug 8 [cited 2023 May 10];2(3841):304. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2445530/ 

7. Pleadin J, Frece J, Markov K. Mycotoxins in food and feed. In: Advances in Food and Nutrition Research [Internet]. Academic Press Inc.; 2019 [cited 2020 Apr 27]. p. 297–345. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31351529/ 

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