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Many people have wondered if ice cream can cause food poisoning , and sadly, the answer is yes. Food poisoning is the main danger of eating expired ice cream ; But the date on the container is not the only information you need to know if the ice cream is safe to eat. It also matters how long ago it was purchased, when it was opened, and how safely it has been stored.
Find out everything about eating ice cream safely and how it can harm your health if you do not follow certain parameters.
Risks of consuming expired ice cream
To begin, you should know that each and every food has an expiration date. In this sense, bacterial contamination is the main danger posed by expired ice creams ; since food spoiled by bacteria can make us sick.
Bacteria thrive in protein-rich foods that are also full of water, including eggs, poultry, meat, fish, and dairy products. Ice cream and other frozen dairy products slow bacterial growth, but they do not kill bacteria, which begin to grow again as they thaw.
The risk of foodborne illness increases after ice cream has been opened and eaten from its packaging or container. Therefore, the best thing you can do is discard any ice cream that thaws completely , due to the danger of bacterial growth.
People most vulnerable to ice cream poisoning
The people most vulnerable to foodborne illness (poisoning) are those who are already seriously ill or who have compromised immune systems. Young children, pregnant women and the elderly are also more vulnerable.
Symptoms generally resemble the stomach flu (fever, nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea) and can last for a few hours to several days. The disease can be mild or very serious, depending on the bacteria involved.
How to buy ice cream safely
- Buy ice cream, milk, and frozen yogurt before the date on the carton, which is the expiration date.
- Make sure ice cream and other frozen desserts are well refrigerated and that the packaging is not sticky (an indication that it has partially thawed at some point).
- Have the ice cream be wrapped in an insulated bag or double bag so it doesn’t melt on the way home.
Also, in case you didn’t know, true ice cream connoisseurs and fans carry an ice cream maker with them in the car to keep it as cold as possible in transit if you buy it too far from where you live.
How long can an ice cream be kept?
Unopened ice cream can be safely stored at home at -18 degrees Celsius for up to two months. However, if you plan to store your ice cream for more than a month , wrap the cardboard box in a plastic bag or freezer paper to preserve the quality of the ice cream.
Once the container has been opened, the ice cream can be safely stored for two to three weeks before being considered “old” (although for a creamy texture and overall quality, try to consume it within seven to 10 days). You can also place plastic wrap over the surface of the ice cream. inside the container, to protect the texture and minimize the development of ice crystals.
- Try to get the ice cream with an expiration date a bit far from the current one.
- Wrap the ice cream in a plastic bag so that bacteria do not grow.
- For the world, eat expired ice cream, because you run the risk of poisoning yourself.
- If you don’t have a refrigerator, you can use a cardboard box and place the ice cream with other frozen foods to keep it cold.
- Joyce, K. Dangers of Old Ice Cream. For Livestrong [Revised August 2018]