Updated May 24th, 2024 at 19:29 IST

Is It Safe To Consume Expired Food Products? FSSAI Guidelines And Health Issues That Can Arise

Consuming such food can lead to the ingestion of harmful bacteria like Salmonella, E coli, or Listeria, which can result in serious health issues.

The Rameshwaram Cafe | Image:Rameshwaram Cafe/ Instagram
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In a significant crackdown, food safety authorities in Telangana recently raided multiple restaurants across the state, unveiling numerous safety norm violations and the use of expired products. These inspections were part of an ongoing effort to ensure food safety and hygiene standards are strictly adhered to across the state.

On May 23, a particularly concerning inspection took place at Rameshwaram Café in the Madhapur area. The Telangana food safety department reported finding expired food items and open dustbins, highlighting a clear disregard for basic hygiene practices. This raid is part of a broader sweep of inspections being carried out across Hyderabad in recent days.

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The task force overseeing these inspections discovered a substantial amount of expired food products. Specifically, a stock of 100 kg of urad dal worth ₹16,000, which had expired in March, was found. Additionally, 10 kg of Nandini curd and 8 litres of milk, collectively worth ₹700, were also deemed expired. The state’s Commissioner of Food Safety shared these findings on X (formerly known as Twitter).

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Expired food poses significant health risks due to the potential for bacterial growth, mold formation, and chemical changes. Consuming such food can lead to the ingestion of harmful bacteria like Salmonella, E coli, or Listeria, which can result in serious health issues.

Image credit:  Rameshwaram Cafe/ Instagram

FSSAI guidelines for packaged foods

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) mandates that packaged food products clearly display net quantity, manufacturing date and best-before details. This regulation aims to ensure consumers and food establishments are aware of product expiry dates and storage instructions to maintain quality and safety.

Adverse health effects on consuming expired food

Eating expired food can have several adverse effects. Common symptoms include stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea. Over time, the nutritional value of expired food diminishes, and consuming it may expose individuals to harmful chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) or phthalates, particularly in canned goods. These chemicals can leach into food, increasing the risk of exposure and potential health issues.

Expired food often undergoes noticeable changes in taste, texture, colour, and smell, indicating spoilage. While not always harmful, spoiled food can cause gastrointestinal discomfort or illness.

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Image credit: Rameshwaram Cafe/ Instagram

If you accidentally consume expired food, it’s important to remain calm and monitor any symptoms. Common signs of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, or dizziness. Staying hydrated by drinking water can help flush out toxins. If severe symptoms arise, seeking medical advice is crucial for proper care and guidance.

This recent crackdown by Telangana’s food safety authorities underscores the importance of adhering to food safety regulations to protect public health. Continued vigilance and strict enforcement of these standards are essential to ensure the well-being of consumers.

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Published May 24th, 2024 at 19:29 IST