What to do after eating bad food?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “What to do after eating bad food?”, tell you how to manage food poisoning and mention how to spot spoiled food.

What to do after eating bad food?

Well if you have already had bad food, then there is not much you can do except look out for symptoms of food poisoning.

Food poisoning, or foodborne illness, is something a person gets after eating spoiled or contaminated food. Some pathogens do not alter the texture or taste of food so it is not easy to tell if the food has been contaminated or not.

It is caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or their toxins. The most common pathogen causing food poisoning is Salmonella which is usually present in poultry and other dairy products. 

It is very common and it rarely ever goes undetected.

The symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, malaise, loss of appetite and headache. The symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Food poisoning can be severe if the diarrhea lasts for more than three days which is accompanied by high fever. Severe vomiting and inability to keep food down can also lead to dehydration.

In case of dehydration, admission to a hospital may be necessary as it can lead to serious consequences. 

How to manage food poisoning?

Mild to moderate food poisoning can be managed at home. If your symptoms are mild then start by eating bland foods with little to no fat so that they are easily digested. Spicy or fatty foods can irritate the stomach further.

Avoid taking dairy products such as milk until you feel better. Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as you can.

Have foods like rice, crackers, and bananas. Eat yogurt as much as you can because yogurt has probiotics that can help fight off pathogenic bacteria. Yogurt is also good for the stomach.

Increase fiber intake in your diet so that the food is easily digested without putting the already upset stomach under more stress. 

Take vitamin C supplements or foods rich in vitamin C since vitamin C can help boost immunity. Strong immunity will help your body get rid of harmful pathogens naturally.

Since diarrhea and vomiting can make you lose a lot of water and leave you dehydrated, it is essential to keep drinking water. You can also take fruit juices or chicken broth to maintain adequate water levels inside your body. You can also buy oral rehydration solutions from a pharmacy and drink them.

However, if the symptoms are severe such that the diarrhea lasts for more than 3 days and you have high fever, or if you experience profuse vomiting that can lead to dehydration,  then it is advised that you go to the hospital. The doctors will stabilize the electrolyte balance and give you all the medicines needed.

A high fever may indicate a strong infection for which antibiotics may be necessary.

Learn more about food poisoning here.

How to tell if food has gone bad?

You can tell if the food has gone bad by looking at the following signs.


You can tell if something has gone bad if it smells off and rancid. The smell may be so strong that you get a strong whiff of it as soon as you open the refrigerator or the container that it was in. The smell of food should be the same as it was when you cooked it or before you put it in the refrigerator.


Spoiled food will have some discoloration on it such as black or bluish black or even brown. Now it could be because of some chemical reactions like in the case of apples or simply because of bacteria and its toxins.


Mold is almost always visible on food when it has spoiled. This type of spoiled food should be discarded immediately.


Changes in texture also indicate food spoilage. If you notice any slimy, gooey or soggy textures, throw the food out.


If all else looks fine visually, take a taste test. Test to see if it tastes the same or has the taste altered. Altered taste usually means spoiled food.

For example cream and yogurt taste sour when they go bad. So does the milk.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “What to do after eating bad food?”, told you how to manage food poisoning and mentioned how to spot spoiled food.



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.