Food waste has become a big issue recently, and with good reason (we all know someone who has gotten sick from bad food they didn’t put in the trash). Whether you’re buying expired foods, cooking with them to throw away later, or just not using them in time.. you’re throwing money out. What happens if you eat expired mayo?
Does Mayo Go Bad?
Mayonnaise, because of its high acidity and salt content, is one of the products that can last for months or even years without spoiling. In fact, Best Foods says that it typically lasts for about two to three months after its production date. That said, the product can spoil at any point if it is not stored correctly. It’s important to keep mayonnaise in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. It’s also wise to store it in an airtight container to prevent food-borne illnesses.
What Happens If You Eat Expired Mayo?
If you eat expired mayo, you are going to get sick. Mayo, like most fresh sauces, is a combination of protein and water. The protein in the mayo will start to break down as soon as you purchase it. Once it starts breaking down, micro-organisms take hold of it, which allows them to spread rapidly. This is why you do not want to consume mayo that has gone bad.
You can tell that your mayo has gone bad because it will have a rancid smell. If the mayo smells unusual or looks unusual, then you should throw it away. Do not try to eat it even if it does not smell or look bad. You never know when the micro-organisms could be present and cause illness in your body.
What Are Some Signs That Mayo Has Gone Bad?
The signs that mayonnaise has gone bad are the same as for most foods: a change in color or texture, an off smell, or an off-taste.
If your mayonnaise has been stored in the refrigerator, check to see if it is past its expiration date. If it was not stored in the refrigerator, discard it immediately and do not taste it.
If your mayonnaise is still within its expiration date but you notice a change of color or texture, discard it immediately.
Look for separation. If the oil and egg are beginning to separate from each other, toss the product out.
Smell the mayo and determine if it smells rancid or fermented. Throw the mayo away if it smells spoiled.
Taste a small amount of mayo on your fingertip to check for an off-flavor. Throw out the entire jar if the taste is off.
How long is mayo good for?
Mayo that’s been continuously refrigerated will keep for about 2 weeks after opening. If the mayo develops an off odor, flavor, or appearance, it should be discarded for quality purposes.
What to do After Eating Expired Mayo?
So you ate expired mayo. It’s not the end of the world.
Although it may be gross, chances are it won’t make you sick. And even if it does, food poisoning is unlikely to lead to long-term health problems.
But that doesn’t mean you should eat expired foods whenever the mood strikes. It’s best to play it safe and avoid eating expired mayo, just in case.
Wait it Out
If the mayonnaise was only a couple of days past its expiration date, chances are it’s fine. Your body will probably be able to handle any unhealthy bacteria that may have grown on the mayonnaise. In fact, most bacteria won’t grow in mayo at all because of its high acidity and vinegar content. If you ate the mayo within a day or two of its expiration date, symptoms should subside within about 24 hours. To help encourage this process, drink plenty of water and get some rest. You can also take an over-the-counter medication like Pepto Bismol to help calm your stomach and diarrhea while you wait it out. Don’t eat anything until you feel better — just stick to water and maybe some crackers if you really need something in your stomach.
One way that bad bacteria can make you sick is by hanging out in your digestive tract. The bacteria can cause inflammation, which leads to diarrhea, cramping, and vomiting. You can help flush them out by drinking lots of fluids. Water is always a great option, but if you’ve been throwing up, try replacing electrolytes with sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade.
The first thing you need to do when you’ve eaten spoiled mayonnaise is to rest. Food poisoning causes a number of symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. These symptoms can last for several hours or even days.
Try OTC Medications
In addition to resting after eating expired mayo, try some over-the-counter medications to make you feel better. For example, anti-diarrheal medications like loperamide (Imodium) can stop diarrhea associated with food poisoning. To treat nausea that often accompanies food poisoning, try an antacid medication like Pepto Bismol. If you have abdominal cramps, try an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen (Motrin) to reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and alleviate pain and cramping. You should not take aspirin if you’re under age 19 because it could lead to Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease that affects the liver and brain.
See a Doctor
If you have eaten the expired mayo in the last hour, induce vomiting. If you have severe stomach cramps, diarrhea or dizziness, call your doctor. You may experience these symptoms without being infected with botulism; however, if they occur, it is best to let your doctor know.
So, there you have it, the answer to what happens if you eat expired mayo. The food experts we asked had varying answers, which makes sense considering that the shelf-life of mayonnaise can vary greatly depending on who makes it and how it’s stored. If you’re concerned about safety, keep yourself informed about proper mayo-storage techniques and periodically check the expiration date on your jar.