Can You Get Sick From Eating Expired Flour
If you eat expired flour, you could get sick. When flour goes rancid, its molecular structure changes, which may produce harmful compounds like mycotoxins which can make you sick. However, most of the time, nothing happens other than that your baked goods don’t taste good.
As you can see, eating expired flour may get you sick, but there is also a slight possibility that eating expired flour can get you sick. For example, expired flour may contain a toxic compound called mycotoxins, which comes from mold, and eating flour that contains mycotoxins could make you sick. There is some small risk that ingesting too many mycotoxins–toxic compounds produced by some types of mold–would make you sick, but you would need to ingest large amounts to get sick, and flour with this much mold smells bad enough that you will not want to use it. If you eat moldy flour, you might get symptoms of food poisoning, such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain, among others.
In fact, when you open the flour bag or container, you are most likely to get a smell that is mildewy, acidic, which is an obvious sign that the flour is not good. While fresh flour has a neutral odor, poor flour has an odor–it may be stale, musty, or nearly acidic. Paste-aged flour also changes texture, since flour that has been sitting too long has probably been exposed to lots of air, which may have damaged the protein structure, leading to sturdier baked goods. This will not make your baked goods taste great, and chances are, you are going to throw it away anyway.
Depending on your type of flour and your storage practices, it can still be useful as long as two years after its print date. The first thing to know is that flour stays good well after the best-by or best-if-used-by dates you might find on your original container. Most flours actually print a shelf life date directly on the bag, which tells you about the amount of time that flour is expected to last.
It is important that you check the expiration date on your bag before buying any flour or bread products. There is a simple thing that you can do at all times to instantly know whether or not your flour has gone bad, and that is checking the expiration date on your flour bag. If you are moving your flour out of a bag into a container, be sure to take note of the expiration date and make a note of it.
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You are more likely to not notice anything wrong with your flour when looking at it, since it takes some time to get mouldy, and if you are using a container to store flour, you cannot see any expiration dates. Generally, flour tends to survive well past its expiration date, but it is best to throw out your flour once it has expired for an extended period, whether or not you see other signs that it is going bad. Any white flour, such as all-purpose or high-rise, stored at room temperature should be discarded after three months; stored at the lower temperatures in the home, any white flour may last for up to six months.
You can store self-rising flour for up to six months in the pantry, or you can freeze it for up to one year. You can store bread flour for up to six months in the pantry, or you can keep it in the refrigerator or freezer for up to one year. You can double your storage life by keeping any flour in a refrigerator, keeping it airtight containers too.
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Keeping the container airtight in a cool place will effectively double the shelf life of your flour, keeping all of the oils from going bad. Refined flour stored airtight, or at least tightly wrapped (to keep it dry), at the back of a freezer will stay steady for a good while.
You can keep your flour in the original bag, but it is best to transfer it into a tight-fitting container for longer-term storage, which will keep out odors (flour absorbs smells) and liquids that escape the walls of the freezer. It can last for up to 8 months when stored in an airtight container, in a cool, dark location that is protected from contamination and spoilage. Nobody wants to eat something that has bugs on it, so once you find the weevils, it is time to toss out flour that has the weevils on it.
This is the reason white flour lasts longest on shelves (and why it is considered to be one of the least healthy flours, health-wise). White flour can be expected to last longer because it has less fat, whereas whole-wheat and gluten-free varieties spoil more quickly. Whole-wheat flour, as mentioned above, is more variable, retaining its quality only about 3 months, 6 months when refrigerated, and about one year when frozen.
It is very possible that a whole wheat flour has gone stale beyond the best-by date, since it is more prone to spoilage. If you are just a casual baker who enjoys using whole grain, nut, and gluten-free flours, you should consider keeping your whole grain flours in a refrigerator or freezer since they can deteriorate easily, and you do not bake frequently enough to consume them quickly.
Many gluten-free flour blends do contain whole-wheat flours and/or nut flours, so should be evaluated in the same manner as the whole-wheat flours (above). The same criteria used for judging whole grain flours for safety and quality may also be used for testing gluten-free flours. These flours and flour blends typically have some type of root or grain flour in them, making them susceptible to spoilage quickly, so you can expect to see these lasting between three to six months, depending on the storage.
Now that you are more familiar with how flours can go bad, and the side effects of using faulty flours, here are some tips that will help you determine whether or not your flour has, in fact, gone bad. Anyone doing any kind of light cooking or baking regularly uses flour, so it is vital that you are aware if this flour might make you (or those you are baking for) sick. If flour can contain dangerous germs that could sicken people, then why not get samples of flour before you buy it.
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While it is unlikely that rancid flour would get you sick, it would still affect the taste and texture of your baked goods. In addition to making for delicious foods, a little bit of this stuff does not hurt your health as long as you use it sparingly.
What happens if you bake with expired flour?
While the flour itself is stable, the baking powder that has been added progressively loses its effectiveness, precisely like the can of baking powder you have in your pantry. You can use self-rising flour after the expiration date for baking, but your baked goods might not rise as well.
Can you eat flour after the expiration date?
In most cases, packaging labels include expiration dates – sometimes called best-by dates – to help you keep your flour fresh for as long as possible. Nevertheless, these labels don’t denote safety and aren’t mandatory. It is therefore possible to consume flour even after the best-by date.
Can you use flour 2 years out of date?
It is possible to store flour for up to two years after the printed date, depending on the type and storage method. A freezer-stored all-purpose flour will probably be good for a long time, but a freezer-stored coconut flour might not. Before using, make sure there are no signs of spoilage on the product.