Can Out Of Date Lettuce Make You Sick
If you eat lettuce that is out of date, you may become ill. You should not eat anything that is slimy or had an unpleasant odor. You can eat lettuce if it has an expiration date of three days or less. Out-of-date lettuce contains E.coli bacteria that can cause severe illness.
There is not a definitive link between older lettuce and food poisoning, but avoid eating lettuce that is spongy, smelly, or past its expiration date. Spongy Lettuce Eating expired produce may make you sick. Lettuce that is past its expiration date, is wilted, sloppy, or has an off-flavor should be discarded because eating expired food can make you sick. If you actually do eat food past the expiration date [and that food] is bad, you may experience symptoms of food poisoning, says registered dietitian nutritionist Summer Juhl, M.S.
When people eat or drink something contaminated with germs, they may become ill from food poisoning. People who eat the same contaminated food, such as during a picnic or barbeque, will generally be sick around the same time. Food poisoning symptoms may start as soon as four hours after eating the contaminated food, or up to 24 hours later.
Food poisoning symptoms typically start within one to two days after eating contaminated food, though symptoms of food poisoning may start anywhere from hours to weeks later. Signs and symptoms can begin just hours after eating contaminated food, or can start days or even weeks later. Sometimes, a person begins feeling ill within one or two hours of eating or drinking the contaminated food or fluid.
It may be difficult to know the source of the infection, as people can not get sick until 15 to 50 days later. Usually, no one knows the source, and people might not even suspect their disease was caused by contaminated food.
Foods and liquids can become contaminated at many different points in cooking, storing, and handling them. Unwashed fruits, vegetables, and other raw foods also can become contaminated and sicken people. In fact, fruits and vegetables have caused many outbreaks of food poisoning, especially lettuce, spinach, cabbage, celery, and tomatoes (10).
In fact, from 1973 through 2012, 85 percent of the U.S. food poisoning outbreaks involving leafy vegetables, such as cabbage, cabbage, lettuce, and spinach, were traced back to foods prepared at restaurants or eating establishments (13). The CDC estimates that bacteria on raw foods are responsible for most food poisoning outbreaks in the US, and many of those outbreaks started with lettuce.
Vegetables and leafy greens can become contaminated with harmful bacteria, like E. coli, salmonella, and listeria. Listeria bacteria can be found in meat, cooked salads, and foods made from contaminated milk products. For example, leafy greens may become contaminated by animal manure in irrigation water or in fields where they are grown, at packing and handling facilities, on trucks as they are transported to stores, on the unwashed hands of food handlers, and in kitchens.
If you eat contaminated leafy greens without cooking them first–for example, in a salad or a sandwich–you may get sick. Although what actually happens when you eat expired foods may differ, according to the Centers for Disease Control, leafy greens are susceptible to bacterial contamination, even in good times. Just a tiny bit of damage to lettuce leaves — like getting slashed — is enough to spur the growth and proliferation of bacteria, particularly if you store them in bags, according to new research out of the University of Leicester.
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Researchers found evidence that the environment within a salad bag provides a perfect breeding ground for Salmonella, the kind of bacteria that is the main cause of food poisoning. The British microbiologists who led the new study suggested the juices released by salad leaves aid the development of salmonella, making it more virulent and more likely to trigger infections. What the study shows is that, if salmonella is present, it quickly grows to levels that can trigger food poisoning, even when a salad bag is placed in a refrigerator.
Proper handling is also important, as there is the potential for lettuce-borne food poisoning, particularly because it is so rarely prepared. Tip If your beloved lettuce is recalled, do not stop eating it, because its health benefits probably outweigh its food poisoning risks. If the lettuce is past its expiration date, or does not taste or look the way you want, toss it into the trash, as it is always safer to be safe than sorry.
To ensure that the lettuce stays crisp, vibrant, and fresh, be sure to fully dry it off after washing with water. If you washed it when you brought it home, use towels or a salad spinner to ensure that it is completely dry.
If discoloration on lettuce is accompanied by a slimy texture and bad odor, lettuce is rotting. At this point, if you opened up a lettuce bag, the rotting smell that came out of the bag would tell you very much about the compromised lettuces security. If it is only starting to happen, you are making a salad, and a whole head is the only lettuce you have, then it is still safe to eat.
This study also cannot tell us if we might be safer buying lettuce not in packaging — there is still the possibility that unpacked lettuce might be contaminated at some point down the line. Nor can this study tell us whether we might be safer buying pre-packaged lettuce unwashed, washed with spring water, or washed with chlorinated water.
|Food Poisoning||Eating old lettuce can cause food poisoning which can cause vomiting|
|Nausea||Eating old lettuce can cause stomach ache which can lead to nausea|
|Fever||It can increase the body temperature which can cause fever|
Their findings did not indicate that all of the leaves from packaged salads were infected with intestinal bacteria such as Salmonella. What they show is if the bag has been contaminated with gut bacteria, those bacteria multiply, even in a refrigerator, and you cannot do much to get rid of it.
It takes about 2 to 6 hours after eating contaminated lettuce or other infected foods to develop symptoms of food poisoning, according to the US National Library of Medicine (NLM). Food poisoning symptoms may include fever, chills, stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
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Both the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control asked Americans to throw out any romaine lettuce after an E.coli outbreak that was traced back to the leafy green. The reason to avoid it is that, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 167 people became sick from the bacterium called Escherichia coli,A causing food poisoning,A after eating lettuce grown in a specific area of California. From 2014 through 2018, CDC reported 51 outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to leafy greens, mostly lettuce.
Is it OK to eat old lettuce?
You should throw away any lettuce that has gone bad, is wilted, slimy, or has beyond its expiration date since eating anything that has gone bad can make you sick. Although there isn’t a direct correlation between eating expired food and getting sick, don’t eat lettuce that is slimy, odorous, or past its expiration date.
How long can you eat lettuce after the expiration date?
It is recommended not to consume lettuce that is three to four days past the “Best By” date printed on the packaging of the lettuce since lettuce can last between seven and ten days from when it was purchased (according to Food Network).
Is it OK to eat lettuce that’s a little brown?
It is cosmetically undesirable for lettuce to have brown spots, but they do not make the lettuce unfit for consumption. Spots may occur as a result of high storage temperatures. Keeping lettuce in an air-tight container at a relatively low temperature is the best way to store it. As long as lettuce is stored this way, it can last for three weeks.