Why should we not eat spoiled food?

In this article, we answer the following question: Why should we not eat spoiled food? We tell you the signs of spoiled food and what products you should never eat if spoiled or expired.

Why should we not eat spoiled food?

We should not eat spoiled food because it can cause serious health problems. Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, vomiting. People at high risk are pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and those with immune problems. In these cases, it can even lead to death.

Expired or spoiled food are those products that show signs of degradation such as mold, rot, bad smell, etc. As a rule, frozen, canned, or dried foods can be eaten after the expiration date. BUT, before they are eaten, regardless of whether they are fresh or processed products, you need to analyze the products and make your own decision whether it is safe to eat or not.

The”best before” date refers to the period when the taste of the product does not change, not when it becomes unhealthy. Thus, when it comes to food safety, you should not only consider the expiration date on the label but also other factors that could endanger your health.

Dry foods such as rice, pasta, or beans are in danger of being infected by moths, but they also do not have a certain expiration date. The only disadvantage is that, over time, there is a deterioration in quality, such as bitter taste after cooking. Other products “survive” for a long time from freezing to -18 degrees Celsius. This is also the case with meat, mayonnaise, and even egg whites.

Some nutrition experts believe that there is no danger even if you happen to eat products that expire on the same day. Food producers are obliged to display a shelf life before the one in which the product actually expires. Therefore, there is no danger to those who consume a product a day or two before it expires, according to the label, or even on the day the product expires.

What products you should NEVER eat if spoiled

Some products are prone to mold faster than others. The shelf life of fresh food or meat is shorter than processed foods such as rice, cereals, chips, dried, frozen, or canned foods.

The products below must be thoroughly checked, even if they are still valid.

  • Fresh berries – Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries are very healthy and tasty. But they are prone to a parasite called cyclospora. The fruits acquire a soft, sticky appearance and mold appears, especially after they have been washed.

It is recommended to put in the freezer the berries that you could not eat in a day or two from the purchase.

  • Meat – Meat (especially sausages) has a short shelf life, especially if it is exposed to air. If not stored properly, fresh or processed meat can be contaminated with Salmonella, E.Coli, or other harmful bacteria.

Always prepare meat at high temperatures to destroy any pathogens. Also, prepared/processed meat should not be eaten more than 3-5 days after preparation/purchase.

  • Soft cheese – Soft cheese is made from unpasteurized milk, which is prone to contamination with Listeria or E.coli. Hard cheeses are prone to mold. Usually, if you cut the area affected by mold, the cheese is still good to eat.

But the toxins in soft cheeses enter the product and cannot be removed. Moreover, spores are not visible, but dangerous. Do not consume soft cheeses more than 5-7 days after purchase.

  • Green leafy vegetables – Green leafy vegetables can be contaminated with E.coli. NEVER eat green leafy vegetables if they look sticky, regardless of the expiration date on the product.

Signs of spoiled food

Expired products are not necessarily spoiled. For example, canned food must be consumed within a maximum of 24 hours. Otherwise, there is a risk of contamination of the contents, and indigestion and diarrhea may occur. In the case of expired products, it is possible to go from food poisoning to hospitalization. 

Products marked “Do not consume after…” do not fall into the high perishability group and the warranty period is not so strict but is a recommendation that should be followed “as far as possible”.

Sugar has no shelf life, experts say. Stored in optimal conditions – humidity at most 70%, packaged in hygienic conditions -, the sugar can be consumed without problems even after many years of production. Even in the case of deposits in higher humidity conditions, when there is a danger of wetting the sugar and creating “lumps”, it is not harmful to health.

Companies that meet quality standards always declare a shorter warranty period than it actually is. A product that expires on the day of purchase does not present any risk.

The bottom line

In this article, we answered the following question: Why should we not eat spoiled food? We taught you the signs of spoiled food and what products you should never eat if spoiled or expired.

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!


Carrillo Inungaray, M.L., Reyes Munguía, A. (2013) “Useful life of food”. Ibero-American Journal of Biological and Agricultural Sciences, 2 (3)

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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