Most food and drinks have a shelf life, even bottled water. Knowing this, it is no surprise that key lime juice can and does expire as well. While it is very rare, it is possible to get food poisoning from consuming expired key lime juice.
If you have ever wondered whether it is safe to consume expired key lime juice or what may happen if you drink bad key lime juice, this article can explain everything you need to know.
Can you use expired key lime juice?
You should not use expired key lime juice. You definitely don’t want to risk food poisoning. While some people are able to use expired juice with no issues, others aren’t so lucky.
And remember, just because it looks and smells okay (past expiration) doesn’t mean it is completely safe. Most of us don’t have high powered microscopes that can detect the bacteria that is likely in the juice.
Simply put, it isn’t worth getting food poisoning. If you are unsure about your key lime juice, you are better off tossing it in the trash rather than risking getting sick.
If you’re one of those people that absolutely hate waste, you can prevent having to toss out your precious key lime juice in the future by following the tips in our article: “12 Tips on Storing Freshly Squeezed (Homemade) Key lime juice”
What Happens when you drink bad key lime juice?
There is a wide range of potential symptoms you can experience if you drink bad key lime juice. You may not have any symptoms at all or you may end up with severe food poisoning that requires hospitalization due to dehydration.
There is really no surefire way to tell what could happen.
Food poisoning symptoms are determined by many factors, such as what you ate, how much you ate, and what kind of bacteria was lurking in the substance you consumed.
Food poisoning symptoms range from mild to severe for this reason. Depending on the bacteria you ingested, it may take a few hours or even days for symptoms to appear.
Below are eleven potential occurrences that could happen if you consume bad/expired key lime juice:
1. Stomach Discomfort/Indigestion
Another common side effect of ingesting expired foods and drinks is stomach pain or indigestion. This could range from mild discomfort to severe pain.
The severity of the stomach pain can depend on what you consumed with the expired key lime juice, how much you consumed, and if you consumed the key lime juice on an empty stomach.
For stomach discomfort, you can apply a heat pack to the abdomen and lay on your side for a while. Drinking chamomile, ginger, or peppermint tea can ease the pain as well.
2. Stomach Cramps
Stomach cramps can occur with food poisoning. These may feel like dull or sharp pains that come and go.
Oftentimes, stomach cramps are accompanied by diarrhea or gas, especially in the case of food poisoning. You may find that after you expel the gas or the diarrhea the cramps subside for a bit, only to come back later on.
Just like for stomach discomfort and indigestion, you can ease the cramps by drinking chamomile, peppermint, or ginger tea and placing a heat pad on the abdomen. Remember to lie down and get plenty of rest.
3. Bloating/Feeling of Fullness
Bloating and fullness is the result of gas filling up in the abdomen or intestines.
When the body detects a food-borne pathogen, it can trigger a chemical reaction in the stomach and intestines that causes this bloating. It can make you feel very full and distended.
If your abdomen feels tight and is sticking out more than normal, you probably have bloating and fullness as a result of something you ate or something the digestive system encountered.
Bloating and gas go hand-in-hand when it comes to many digestive woes, and food poisoning is no different.
You may notice a lot more gas than usual if you ingest bad key lime juice. You will probably feel better if you expel the gas.
Peppermint and ginger tea can help rid the body of gas, as can lying on your side with a heat pad on your abdomen. Sometimes severe gas can cause bloating or stomach/intestinal pain.
Make sure to apply heat to whichever area of the abdomen is affected the most to experience relief.
One of the most unpleasant side effects of bad key lime juice may be diarrhea. Not only is it uncomfortable, it can lead to dehydration.
Keep in mind that if you have diarrhea, it is crucial that you stay as hydrated as possible to prevent dehydration. Drinking water or an electrolyte beverage is recommended.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you should consult your doctor for bloody diarrhea or diarrhea that lasts more than three days.
Nobody enjoys the feeling of being sick to your stomach, but this is a common side effect of food poisoning.
You may feel nauseous several hours after ingesting the bad key lime juice and this may last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
If you are tired of feeling nauseous, you can try a little ginger and peppermint tea or sniffing a blend of ginger and peppermint essential oils, which have been shown to reduce feelings of nausea.
Heartburn is a common occurrence after food poisoning due to the overactive stomach acid. If it feels like you have a storm raging in your chest and you are burping up acidic liquid, this is a sign your body may be experiencing distress from food poisoning.
If you’re already prone to heartburn, drinking bad key lime juice may make it much worse. Avoid eating or drinking any acidic foods and beverages to keep it from getting any worse. This includes foods like tomatoes and drinks like coffee.
Drink plenty of water to help your stomach digest better and alkalize the highly acidic stomach contents.
Vomiting is the body’s way of saying, “nope” to certain potentially harmful pathogens. Oftentimes, vomiting shortly after a meal is a telltale sign of food poisoning. If you begin vomiting not long after ingesting key lime juice, it may be safe to say it was the culprit.
While it is generally an unpleasant experience, vomiting is the body’s way of expelling the thing responsible for food poisoning. Too much vomiting can lead to severe dehydration, so make sure you stay as hydrated as possible if you are vomiting.
If the vomiting is so frequent that you are unable to keep liquids down, the CDC recommends getting medical attention to prevent dehydration.
A fever, along with any other symptom in this list, can be a side effect of ingesting bad key lime juice (or another expired product for that matter).
A fever is a major indicator that the body is fighting off an infection of some sort, whether bacterial or viral. When the body detects an unwelcome invader, like a germ in bad key lime juice, it sends immune cells to attack the virus and signals the brain to start warming up.
Bacteria can only live in a certain temperature range, so the idea is to kill off the bacteria by making an inhospitable environment in the host. While a fever can be uncomfortable, it isn’t always necessary to treat a fever unless it is very high.
Once you understand why a fever is designed to do what it does in the body, you understand that it can be counterproductive to reduce it unnecessarily.
Fatigue can be a common side effect of ingesting bad key lime juice, but is often triggered by other side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Vomiting and diarrhea cause fatigue because they deprive the body of the water it needs to stay hydrated. It is possible to have fatigue without the vomiting and diarrhea if your immune system is working overtime to try and kill off the bacteria.
Most of the time your body will attack the foreign and potentially harmful bacteria that could cause issues before it even has a chance to make you symptomatic.
Thankfully, many of us have experienced no symptoms after eating expired foods and drinks because we have healthy immune systems that do incredible work behind the scenes to attack and kill unwelcome pathogens that enter.
This phenomenon is all the more reason to do your best to nourish your immune system by eating healthy, exercising, and getting plenty of vitamin C and D.
It always pays to be on the safe side when it comes to expiration dates. Remember to keep track of the expiration date on the bottle and throw it out when it is past this date to prevent experiencing any of the issues listed in this article.