Accidentally consuming expired food can lead to potential health risks, and understanding the appropriate steps to take is crucial. Ruchika Jain, Chief Clinical Nutritionist at Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj, Delhi, offers insights into the possible risks associated with eating expired food and provides guidance on what to do if such an incident occurs.
Possible Risks of Eating Expired Food:
Food Poisoning: Consuming expired food may introduce harmful bacteria, leading to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, and, in severe cases, dehydration and organ damage.
Mould Toxicity: Food with mould can cause mould toxicity, resulting in allergic reactions, respiratory problems, headaches, and, in severe cases, neurological symptoms.
Food Spoilage: While not necessarily harmful, spoiled food may cause discomfort or gastrointestinal issues.
Presence of Harmful Chemicals: Certain canned goods may contain harmful chemicals, such as BPA or phthalates, which can leach into the food over time.
Tips on What to Do If You Eat Expired Food:
Stay Calm: Remain composed and assess how you feel.
Check Symptoms: Monitor for signs of food poisoning or allergic reactions, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, or dizziness.
Drink Water: Stay hydrated to flush out toxins and alleviate symptoms.
Seek Medical Advice: If experiencing severe symptoms or concerns about health, seek immediate medical attention for guidance.
Discard Remaining Food: If suspicious of the food consumed, discard the remaining portion to prevent further consumption.
Preventing Future Incidents: To minimize the risks associated with expired food:
Adhere to food safety guidelines.
Check expiration dates.
Properly store food.
Promptly discard expired items.
When unsure about a food item’s safety, err on the side of caution and avoid consumption.
Understanding these steps can help individuals respond effectively and responsibly in the event of accidentally consuming expired food.