Can You Get Sick From Drinking Expired Almond Milk?

Almond milk has become a popular alternative to dairy milk for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan. It’s a healthy and delicious option that can be used in a variety of ways, from adding it to your morning coffee to using it in your favorite recipes.

However, just like any other food product, almond milk has an expiration date. But what happens if you drink expired almond milk? Can it make you sick?

In this article, we’ll explore the potential risks of consuming expired almond milk and what you can do to avoid getting sick. So, let’s dive in and find out!

Can You Get Sick From Drinking Expired Almond Milk?

The short answer is yes, you can get sick from drinking expired almond milk. Just like with traditional spoiled milk, bacteria are responsible for making almond milk go bad. If you drink expired almond milk, you’ll be consuming a large number of bad bacteria, which can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting.

In some cases, very rancid almond milk can cause more severe food poisoning. Consuming bad almond milk can also lead to food poisoning, which can cause serious health complications such as dehydration, organ damage, and even death.

It’s important to be mindful of the expiration date on almond milk and other food products, and to discard any that have gone bad. Furthermore, it’s important to ensure that the almond milk was stored and handled properly before consuming it.

Understanding The Expiration Date On Almond Milk

Expiration dates on almond milk packaging can be confusing, as they are often labeled as “sell-by,” “best-by,” or “use before” dates. However, it’s important to understand that these dates are not necessarily indicators of safety, but rather the manufacturer’s assessment of when the product is at its best quality. According to the FDA, these dates are about quality rather than safety.

If almond milk is stored properly, it can be kept past the date on the packaging. When it comes to shelf-stable almond milk, an unopened carton can last for 1 to 2 years past the printed date, while an opened carton can last for an additional couple of months without any quality changes. On the other hand, refrigerated almond milk has a storage time of a few weeks max, with a lifespan of 7 to 10 days after being opened.

It’s important to note that these dates are not expiration dates, but rather guidelines for quality. Almond milk that is beyond its date may still be safe to consume if it hasn’t been opened and hasn’t been exposed to any harmful bacteria. However, it’s always best to check for signs of spoilage before consuming any expired almond milk.

If you’re unsure whether your almond milk is still safe to drink past its expiration date, look for signs of spoilage such as a sour smell or taste, curdling, or mold growth. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to throw the almond milk away.

What Happens When Almond Milk Expires?

When almond milk expires, it starts to spoil and develop bacteria. This can cause the milk to have an unpleasant taste and smell. Consuming expired almond milk can also lead to gastrointestinal discomfort such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. The bacterial spores that grow in expired almond milk can cause food poisoning, which can result in severe health complications.

Mycotoxins produced by mold can also cause digestive issues when consuming spoiled almond milk. While accidental ingestion of mold in small amounts is generally harmless, taking a big gulp of way-past-its-prime almond milk can lead to severe discomfort that lasts for several hours.

It’s important to note that consuming expired almond milk that has not yet spoiled may not have any consequences. However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and discard any expired almond milk to avoid any potential health risks.

To prevent almond milk from spoiling quickly, it’s crucial to refrigerate it and practice hygienic handling. Leaving almond milk out on the counter or in the pantry can attract bacteria and increase the risk of spoilage. According to the USDA, food requiring refrigeration should never be left out in room temperature conditions for more than 2 hours.

The Risks Of Drinking Expired Almond Milk

Drinking expired almond milk can pose several health risks. The most common risk associated with consuming bad almond milk is gastrointestinal discomfort, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms are usually caused by mycotoxins produced by mold that grows in the expired almond milk.

Moreover, consuming expired almond milk that has gone bad can put you at risk of infection as the milk may contain harmful bacteria. Bacterial spores can still grow in almond milk, even if it has fewer bacteria than dairy milk. This is why it’s crucial to refrigerate almond milk and observe proper hygiene when handling it.

In some cases, drinking very rancid almond milk can lead to severe food poisoning. This can cause serious health complications such as dehydration, organ damage, and even death. Those with a compromised immune system are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of drinking bad almond milk.

If you realize too late that your almond milk has gone bad, the most important thing you can do is stay hydrated. Vomiting and diarrhea, which are likely to result, will dry you out. Drinking Pedialyte or sports drinks can help support your kidneys as they cleanse your system. If you are having trouble keeping liquids down, it’s a good idea to go to the hospital to get some help staying hydrated while you recover.

How To Tell If Your Almond Milk Has Gone Bad

There are several ways to tell if your almond milk has gone bad. One of the most obvious signs is a sour or pungent smell. Once the drink is spoiled, it will lose its nutty and fresh aroma. Take a good sniff at your milk; does it smell any different from how almond milk should smell? If the answer is yes, it’s time to throw it away.

Another way to tell if your almond milk has gone bad is to check the texture. If the milk has thickened or clumped together, it’s a clear indication that it has gone bad. Fresh almond milk should have a smooth and consistent texture, so any lumps or clumps are a sign that bacteria have started to grow.

The taste of expired almond milk can also give you a clue. If the milk tastes sour or off, it’s a clear indication that it has gone bad. Fresh almond milk should have a mild and slightly sweet taste, so any change in flavor is a sign that it’s no longer safe to consume.

Lastly, check the expiration date on the carton. While shelf-stable almond milk typically lasts for 1 to 2 years, refrigerated almond milk has a storage time of a few weeks max, so all you can get is probably between 5 and 7 days beyond the use-by date printed on the label. More than that, and you’re playing with fire. Before drinking almond milk that’s past its date, make sure it’s not spoiled using the process outlined above. And if the milk is well beyond its date, it’s probably best to play it safe and toss it.

Tips For Properly Storing Almond Milk

Proper storage of almond milk can help extend its shelf life and reduce the risk of consuming bad or expired milk. Here are some tips to ensure that your almond milk stays fresh:

1. Store in the fridge: Almond milk that has been ultra-pasteurized should always be stored in the fridge at all times. This will help prevent it from spoiling too soon and keep it fresh.

2. Tightly seal after each use: Once you open the carton, make sure to tightly seal it after each use to prevent oxygen from getting in, which can allow bacteria to breed.

3. Check the expiration date: Always check the expiration date on the package before consuming almond milk. If it has expired, discard it immediately.

4. Use within recommended time frame: Once opened, refrigerated almond milk typically lasts up to seven days. Shelf-stable almond milk can last up to two months unopened and up to 10 days once opened and refrigerated. Use within these recommended time frames to ensure that the milk is still safe to drink.

5. Store in airtight container: If you make your own almond milk, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your almond milk stays fresh and safe to drink. Remember, when in doubt, always discard any almond milk that has gone bad or past its expiration date.

Alternatives To Drinking Expired Almond Milk

If you find that your almond milk has gone bad, it’s important to know that there are several dairy-free alternatives available. These include soy milk, rice milk, oat milk, hazelnut milk, and coconut milk. Each of these milk alternatives has its own unique taste, texture, and nutritional profile, so the one you choose depends on your personal preference and what you plan to use it for.

If you’re looking to boost the protein content in your morning smoothie, soy milk is a great option. However, if you enjoy the mild nuttiness of almond milk, you can reach for hazelnut or cashew milk instead. Oat milk tends to be thicker than other alternative milks and many people find it froths up nicely, making it a popular choice for coffee drinkers. Rice milk offers a fairly neutral flavor profile that many find appealing, while coconut milk tends to have a distinct coconut taste.

It’s important to note that leaving almond milk out on the counter or anywhere else that’s not your fridge will put it on the fast track to spoilage. Almond milk that’s left unrefrigerated for too long will start to attract bacteria, which makes it go bad and can increase your chance of getting sick. According to the USDA, you should never leave food requiring refrigeration out in room temperature conditions for more than 2 hours.

Any almond milk sold in the refrigerated section of the supermarket should be stored in the refrigerator when you get home. This kind of almond milk is not shelf-stable and comes in a variety of different types of containers such as paperboard, glass, and plastic. When unopened, refrigerated almond milk will last until the expiration date printed on the label. Once opened, it should be used within 7 days.

If your almond milk came from the refrigerator section, it will still go bad even if it’s not been opened. This is because it doesn’t have as many preservatives in it nor is it stored in shelf-stable packaging. It’s never a good idea to risk it when you’re dealing with refrigerated almond milk. If you’re not sure whether it’s still safe to drink past its expiration date, look for signs of it going bad. And if you’re still not certain, it’s better to throw it away.

Shelf-stable almond milk that has not been opened will stay fresh at room temperature for three to four weeks past the date on the package. However, an unopened carton of almond milk that was purchased cold will stay fresh for roughly one week after the date you find on the product, provided it was kept at a consistent temperature of 40°F or below. As for almond milk that has already been opened, its lifespan is seven to ten days in the fridge regardless of whether you bought it chilled or at room temperature.

If you’re looking for a more sustainable option than dairy or almond milk, plant-based milks are a great alternative. A 2018 study by researchers at the University of Oxford showed that producing a glass of dairy milk results in almost three times more greenhouse gas emissions than any plant-based milk and consumes nine times more land than any of the milk alternatives. Some sustainable plant-based options include oat milk and soy milk.