Is expired kd safe to eat? (3 risks)
In this article, we will discuss whether it is safe to eat expired kd, the risks of eating expired kd, how to know if kd is spoiled and how to reduce the risks of eating expired kd.
Is expired kd safe to eat?
Yes, expired kd is safe to eat, unless it is spoiled and has been stored correctly, that is, in a cool and dry place, protected from sunlight and kept unopened or in an airtight food container.
Kraft dinner is a dry and shelf-stable food product and, unless the product shows signs of spoilage, such as unpleasant odours and mould infestation, it can be consumed after its expiration date (1).
Does expired kd mean a spoiled Kraft dinner?
No, expired kd does not necessarily mean that the Kraft dinner is spoiled. Spoilage can be in general noticed by changes in the sensory aspects of the product.
However, microbial contamination may also leave no signs and therefore safety handling and storage practices of the product, added with safe cooking practices are always recommended to avoid foodborne diseases (3).
The best-by date or the expiration date does not indicate spoilage of the food, but rather a quality level in terms of organoleptic and nutritional properties. Past the expiration date, it is expected that the product will lose its flavour (1).
What are the risks of eating expired kd?
The risks of eating expired kd are mainly foodborne illnesses and the ingestion of oxidised fats, causing oxidative damage to the body. The risks are summarised in the table below (1, 2, 3, 4):
|The ingestion of kd contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms that can survive under low moisture conditions, such as Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes, or Bacillus, which survive in the form of spores. Long-term storage in an improper condition may favour their development to a number considered unsafe for consumption.||Foodborne infections can cause symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, fever, headache and dehydration. In severe cases, it can lead to hospitalisation and death.|
|The ingestion of toxins produced by microorganisms, especially fungi (mycotoxins). Dry foods may contain fungal spores which develop, especially when food is improperly stored.||The ingestion of mycotoxins can lead to liver and kidney damage, and immunodeficiency. Mycotoxins are mutagenic and may cause cancer and neurological diseases.|
|The ingestion of products derived from oxidative reactions of lipids, such as aldehydes and peroxides, which are considered toxic, as they can interfere with cell pathways, causing mutation, damage and cell death.||Frequent ingestion of oxidised fats can lead to inflammatory diseases in the long term. A higher incidence of atherosclerosis, heart and Alzheimer´s disease has been reported due to the presence of oxidised fats in the body.|
When should you not eat expired kd?
You should not eat expired kd when you notice any signs of spoilage, which can include (2, 4, 5, 6):
- Signs of visible insect parts or package violation, which indicates insect infestation
- Growth of mould or formation of fungal spores, through discolouration or the presence of fungal filaments
- Generation of off-odours, such as rancid, soapy, musty or earthy
- Increase in the moisture, agglomeration of the product, clumping
How can you reduce the risks of eating expired kd?
You can reduce the risks of eating expired kd by boiling the noodles in hot water and discarding the water afterwards.
According to studies, boiling pasta products in hot water can leach a significant amount of fungal toxins by leaching the toxin into the boiling water and partial destruction through heat (7).
Long cooking at high temperatures (above 150 °C or 300 °F) can also reduce the levels of possible fungal toxin contamination in the expired kd. For this, bake the cooked kd in the oven at medium-high heat for 30 minutes.
Heat treatments will also ensure a satisfactory elimination of viable pathogenic microorganisms in the product (3).
What about eating expired cooked kd?
Eating expired cooked kd has similar risks as consuming expired dry kd (1, 2, 3, 4). The shelf life of cooked kd is about 4 days when stored in the refrigerator, however, it is safe to eat afterwards, when no signs of spoilage are present (1).
Spoilage cooked kd can be identified by off-odours and off-flavours, production of gas or the presence of slime, changes in the texture or the growth of mould (2, 4, 5, 6).
In this article, we discussed whether expired kd is safe to eat, what are the risks of eating expired kd, how to know if expired kd is spoiled and how can you reduce the risks of eating expired kd.
Kraft dinner is a very practical and versatile food, as you can combine it with vegetables and different meat ingredients. If you have an expired kd, cook it and add fresh green onions, tomatoes and chilli.
The added vegetables can counteract the negative effects of possible oxidised lipids in the Kraft dinner and reduce long-term health risks. That is my final suggestion.
Was this helpful?
Collart A, Interis M. Consumer Imperfect Information in the Market for Expired and Nearly Expired Foods and Implications for Reducing Food Waste. Sustainability [Internet] 2018;10(11):3835. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su10113835
Bourdichon F, Betts R, Dufour C, Fanning S, Farber J, McClure P, Stavropoulou DA, Wemmenhove E, Zwietering MH, Winkler A. Processing environment monitoring in low moisture food production facilities: Are we looking for the right microorganisms?. International journal of food microbiology. 2021 Oct 16;356:109351.
Gallo M, Ferrara L, Calogero A, Montesano D, Naviglio D. Relationships between food and diseases: What to know to ensure food safety. Food Research International. 2020 Nov 1;137:109414.
Ramana KV, Srivastava S, Singhal SS. Lipid peroxidation products in human health and disease. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity. 2013 Oct;2013.
Angiolillo L, Conte A, Del Nobile MA. Biotechnological Approach to preserve fresh pasta quality. Journal of food protection. 2017 Dec 1;80(12):2006-13.
Cook FK, Johnson BL. Microbiological spoilage of cereal products. Compendium of the microbiological spoilage of foods and beverages. 2009:223-44.
Milani J, Maleki G. Effects of processing on mycotoxin stability in cereals. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 2014 Sep;94(12):2372-5.