can you eat expired pasta sauce

If you’ve got some pasta sauce at home, you may be wondering can you eat expired pasta sauce?

Here, we will delve into all the health risks involved and everything you need to know about expired pasta sauce.

You can keep canned pasta sauce on a shelf for up to 18 months. However, once opened and stored in a refrigerator, you should use it within a week.

Knowing the telltale signs of a spoiled pasta sauce will help you determine whether expired pasta sauce is safe to eat.

Expired pasta sauce is safe to eat unless it has gone bad. You can mitigate the risk of food poisoning by properly storing pasta sauce and knowing when it’s become spoiled.

How To Tell if Pasta Sauce Has Gone Bad

tell bad pasta sauce

Foods like canned pasta sauce are high-acid and can be stored for 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Determining whether it is still safe to eat can be done in a few ways.

If you see the presence of mold, you shouldn’t eat the pasta sauce. And if you do accidentally eat some, it will have a sour or bitter taste.

Furthermore, a bad smell is also a good indicator that the spaghetti sauce has gone bad.

In addition, pasta sauce thickens over time and changes color from red to maroon.

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Once you notice these changes, it would be prudent to discard them without a taste test.

Tip: Mild spoilage is harder to detect as it can’t be identified by sight, scent, or taste. Heating the sauce to 149 degrees will rapidly kill the bacteria present.

Can You Eat Expired Pasta Sauce?

eat pasta sauce gone bad

Like many condiments, pasta sauce has a best-by date rather than an expiration date. Though these conditions may seem interchangeable, they are slightly different.

The expiration date represents the last day you can eat this product. The best by date refers to the last day the food is perfect.

After that, it may not be as fresh, taste as good, or have the nutrients it used to.

This means that pasta sauce may be safe to use after expiration. Check for any of the signs mentioned above of a pasta sauce gone bad to be safe.

Remember that homemade pasta sauce isn’t made with preservatives that keep food shelf-stable.

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As a result, the time it can be refrigerated is brief at just three to five days.

Notably, sauces without dairy ingredients like cream or cheese can be frozen in airtight containers.

Tip: For the best taste, use the spaghetti sauce within six months.

Food Poisoning

If you have stomach pain or diarrhea after eating pasta sauce, there’s a chance you are suffering from symptoms relating to gastroenteritis.

Gastroenteritis can be caused by a stomach bug or food poisoning. If you’ve recently eaten pasta sauce, food poisoning is probably the cause.

a food poisoning

There are various ways your pasta sauce could’ve gotten compromised:

  • Contamination of pasta sauce can occur during the manufacturing process.
  • Bacteria on cookware can cause contamination.
  • Refrigerating and reheating the pasta sauce multiple times increases the risk of food poisoning.

After consuming pasta sauce contaminated with an infectious organism, your stomach and intestines can become infected and inflamed.

The type of organism contaminating the spaghetti sauce determines how bad the symptoms are and how long they will last.

Food poisoning symptoms typically show up within 6-24 hours after consumption.

Common Causes of Food Poisoning From Pasta Sauce

The following are some of the most common causes of food poisoning from pasta sauce:

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1. Bacillus Cereus

Bacteria cereus is common in foods like cooked vegetables left out at room temperature for too long.

This bacterium causes diarrhea within six to fifteen hours of consuming the sauce.

It also causes vomiting within a half hour to six hours after eating spaghetti sauce.

2. Clostridium Botulinum

a clostridium botulinum

Botulism, a rare and potentially fatal illness, is caused by a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum.

Signs of the disease include weakness, fatigue, blurred vision, and problems speaking. This may be followed by weakness in the limbs and chest muscles.

Eating spoiled spaghetti sauce can cause Botulism. It occurs if spaghetti sauce is canned or stored incorrectly.

Symptoms can show up from 18 to 36 hours after the bad sauce is consumed.

Spaghetti Sauce Food Poisoning Symptoms

The following are some of the symptoms that can help you identify food poisoning.

Abdominal Cramps and Diarrhea

diarrhea or abdominal cramps

In food poisoning, abdominal pain results from inflammation caused by harmful organisms irritating the lining of your stomach and intestines.

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And the cramping is caused by abdominal muscles contracting to increase bowel movements so that harmful organisms can be removed.

It’s important to remember that cramping happens for other reasons besides food poisoning. Therefore, this single symptom may not be related to food poisoning.

The same applies to diarrhea. However, if you have diarrhea for more than three days, you should see a doctor.

Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting from food poisoning can feel miserable, but the process is important because your body is clearing out toxins.

When experiencing these symptoms, you should avoid food for the first few hours until your stomach calms down.

a nausea or vomiting

Drinking a clear diet such as water, broth, and electrolytes will help replace the minerals lost because of diarrhea and vomiting.

Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium and potassium.

They help your body function, from maintaining a normal heartbeat to managing water levels.

Tip: If you feel well enough to eat, start by eating non-fat, plain foods like rice and toast.


You have a fever if your body temperature is above the normal of 97.6–99.6°F.

This natural defense against infection is caused by fever-producing substances called pyrogens that trick your body into thinking it’s colder than it is.

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you can get fever

An increase in temperature also activates white blood cells that help fight infection.

Fevers from foodborne illness begin right away and usually go away within 24 hours.

It’s uncommon for the fever to be accompanied by vomiting.


You may experience a headache from food poisoning, but the reason for this symptom isn’t fully known.

It may be related to dehydration, which impacts the brain. Dehydration can cause the brain to lose fluid and shrink temporarily.

a headache

If you are suffering from diarrhea and vomiting, your risk of dehydration increases. This may cause a headache.

Who Is Most at Risk?

Some individuals are more vulnerable to foodborne illness than others. Their symptoms are often more severe.

Young children, older adults, pregnant women, and those who are immunocompromised are most at risk.

What To Do if You Have Food Poisoning

If you think you have food poisoning, make sure that you stay hydrated.

Gastroenteritis causes vomiting and diarrhea, depleting the body of fluids for important functions.

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Drinking clear liquids and eating a bland diet consisting of foods bananas, white bread, white rice, and plain yogurt are recommended to promote bulk-forming stool.

what to do if food poison

Call the doctor if you feel lethargic, and have dry mouth or skin because you could be suffering from dehydration.

If you have a fever, keep as cool as possible and drink electrolyte-rich fluids.

Fevers over 103℉ require immediate medical assistance. Contact a doctor if your symptoms linger longer than three days or become worse.

Tip: Sports drinks like Gatorade are easy to find electrolyte-rich fluids.

Expiration and Refrigeration

So, can you eat expired pasta sauce? The answer is yes, as long as you’ve noted the expiration date and know the length of refrigeration.

Keeping track of expiration dates and the length of refrigeration of your pasta sauce is essential. If the date, smell, and appearance are questionable, discard the sauce.

Foodborne illness can make you very sick, and if you find you have symptoms, you should contact a physician right away.

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If you experience worsening symptoms such as continued vomiting, severe gut pain, and high fever, seek emergency medical assistance.