What Happens If You Eat Expired Canned Goods?

Generally speaking, the shelf life of a canned good is indefinite. This means that it can be consumed even past the sell by or use by date stamped on it, provided that there is no physical damage around.

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Experts say that it is perfectly fine to consume expired canned goods, again if there is no damage to the packaging.

In fact, they add that acidic canned foods can be consumed about 2 years past their expiration dates, while low- or non-acidic canned foods can be consumed 5 years or more beyond their expiration dates.

Consuming expired canned goods can definitely help stretch one’s budget. Why throw something away when it’s still perfectly safe to eat? That’s just wasteful!

But before serving expired canned goods on the table, make sure that you:

Carefully inspect the packaging. If there is no dent or any form of physical damage, it’s safe to eat. 

Observe the contents. If you notice small bubbles, a strange odor or cloudiness, throw it away.

There is no use in saving lots of money if one’s health is placed at risk — if it doesn’t look or feel like an expired canned food is safe to eat, then trust your instinct and dunk it in the trash can.Here are some of the things that can happen if you consume expired canned foods that are no longer fit for consumption, based on the criteria mentioned earlier:

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Anything that you put in your stomach that the stomach doesn’t like can cause nausea — that feeling of sickness with an inclination for you to vomit.


Other than nausea, you may actually vomit if you happen to consume an expired canned good that is no longer suitable for consumption. It’s just your body’s way of trying to get rid of something before it does further damage.

The problem with vomiting is it can cause complications, such as irritation of the throat and weakening of the enamel, which is the protective covering of the teeth.


Another complication of vomiting is dehydration. When you vomit, you tend to lose fluids, most especially electrolytes that are needed for proper hydration as well as normal nerve and muscle functioning.

Time and again, we’re told by the experts to drink up to 8 glasses or about 2 liters of water every single day — that’s how important staying hydrated is.


You may also end up with diarrhea after consuming an expired canned good that is no longer ideal for consumption — it’s just your body’s way of trying to flush out anything that’s not supposed to be in it. And just like vomiting, diarrhea can leave you dehydrated.


One of the most dangerous things about consuming expired canned goods with physical damage is botulism poisoning. It is caused by a type of bacteria known as clostridium botulinum.

There are many different symptoms of botulism poisoning, and paralysis is one of them. Such paralysis can cause the respiratory system to fail to work properly, and it can easily lead to death if not addressed right away.

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