What to Do After Eating Expired Food


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We’ve all eaten expired food at some point in our lives, and you may be wondering what to do after eating it. That’s a good question! Eating expired food can not only be unpleasant, but it can even leave you with a tummy ache, or something even worse, depending on what it was you ate. So, what can be done about it? We’re glad you asked. We’ll go over what you should do if you’ve eaten expired food, as well as what you can expect healthwise after you’ve eaten the spoiled food.

rotten pear

Table of Contents

What Should I Do If I Eat Spoiled Food?

If you eat spoiled food, don’t panic, but do investigate. How old was the spoiled food you ate? What type of spoiled food was it that you ate? Did it have visible mold? Have you already started to feel sick? All of these questions can help guide you on what to do next.

If you are having symptoms of sickness, it’s time to act. Whether or not you make a trip to the hospital is up to you, but many cases of food poisoning can be managed at home.

To start, pitch the expired food. Afterward, try eating dry bland foods like toast and crackers until your stomach settles. Carbonated sodas like 7-Up, Sprite, or seltzer can help too.

What Should You Eat or Drink After Eating Spoiled Food?

After consuming spoiled food, wait to see if you experience symptoms that indicate illness. If you do, it is almost always advised that you allow your stomach a chance to “rest”. This means avoiding foods, especially heavy or acidic foods, for at least a few hours. If you’re really hungry, try eating a slice of unbuttered toast or a few crackers.

As you are allowing your stomach to settle, it is imperative that you stay hydrated. To do this, sip on water and other clear liquids like broth, sparkling water, Sprite or 7 Up, and electrolyte-containing drinks like Gatorade. All of these drinks are good for settling your stomach while simultaneously keeping you hydrated.

person lying on gray sofa

What Happens If You Eat Expired Food?

If you eat expired food, it is very possible that nothing will happen!

That’s right. Many foods can be consumed well past their expiration date, however, that isn’t the case for all foods.

For example, if you’ve ever wondered, “What happens if you eat expired hot dogs?” the answer is that you may be just fine, however, it will depend on how you stored the hot dogs and how long it was after expiry that you consumed them.

How Long Can You Eat Expired Food?

Eating expired food will always have risks associated with it. Still, not all food goes bad by the date printed on the label. What happens if you eat expired mayo, for example, is a common question asked by many. Items like this can often last long past expiry, but still, you’ll want to ensure that your mayo is refrigerated at all times and isn’t showing signs of spoilage.

Various foods will have various shelf lives, depending on what it is and how it is stored.

So, can you eat expired bread? Bread is another example of a food that can stay good for a copious amount of time without going stale, however, it must be kept frozen. However, bread that is left at room temperature can still be fresh even up to 5-7 days after the printed expiry date. Thus, the answer to a question like this will depend on a variety of factors. Every food has its own interval at which it can be regarded as fresh after expiry.

Do your research and be sure to sniff and examine any old food before you consume it to lower your risks of illness.

How Long After Eating Expired Food Will You Get Sick?

According to Hopkins Medicine, a person can exhibit signs of food sickness as quickly as within 30 minutes to up to three weeks! It really depends on the person, what you ate, and how contaminated the expired food was.

Generally speaking, if what you ate didn’t bother you within 1-3 days, it may be safe to say that you’re in the clear. There are instances where symptoms related to food poisoning come later than that, though. See your local healthcare provider if your symptoms do not clear up within a few days.


Can You Die From Eating Expired Food?

In extreme situations, it is possible for a person to die from eating expired food. That’s because certain diseases such as listeria can prove fatal, particularly for those with weakened immune systems such as newborns, the elderly, and people that are otherwise health impaired. Salmonella and E.Coli can also prove fatal, however, listeria has proven itself several times over to be the deadliest of them all.

Can One Bite of Bad Food Make You Sick?

Yes, you can, but as usual, it will depend on what you ate and how your body responds to it. Some people have extreme sensitivities to mold and bacteria while others may not. Because of this, it is very possible to become sick even from one bite of food, especially if the food was highly contaminated. 

What to Do With Expired Food

There are some foods that can be used for other purposes once expired. Stale croissants, for example, can be used to make breakfast bakes and puddings. Some foods, however, are best left in the garbage can. You can also do composting!

bunch of overripe bananas hanging on canopy

What to Do After Eating Expired Food? That Depends!

What you should do after eating expired food will strongly depend on what you ate and how you felt after eating it. If you begin to feel sick after eating expired food, it might be wise to abstain from foods for a few hours and to drink plenty of clear fluid to hydrate your body. If you do not begin to feel better, you’ll want to give your doctor a call to see what your next steps should be.

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