Food preservation

How To Tell If Food Is Spoiled

Nidhi Nangia
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: January 16, 2017
How To Tell If Food Is Spoiled

Eating fresh is important for you and your family. If you end up eating spoiled food, you may keep feeling sick for a few hours, or even reach a hospital with fatal complications. If you are cleaning out your refrigerator, and find some food you have not touched for long, then do you know how to tell if food is spoiled? Here at, we are going to discuss about signs of spoiled food.

You may also be interested in: How to Tell if Beef Is Spoiled

Steps to follow:


Check the dates: Before you use any food, check the dates on its package, such as expiry date, sell by date, use by date, best before etc. If you have passed that date, it is recommended not to use it for safety reasons, and choose a completely fresh alternative instead, especially if the package has previously been open.

How To Tell If Food Is Spoiled - Step 1

Look at its color: Color of the food is the main element that can alert you and can help you tell if food is spoiled or not. Even if it has not yet passed its expiry date, the change in its color means that it has gone bad, and it is safe not to use it. Color changes occur due to the food’s exposition to air, which may have led to growth of bacteria in it.

For example, red meat may become darker in color, white foods like breads may become yellow, and green foods may turn darker and mushy. So, look for these signs, and do not use them to stay safe.

How To Tell If Food Is Spoiled - Step 2

Smell it: This is probably the surest and easiest ways to know if the food has spoiled. Whatever food it is, if it is smelling different, it is not good to eat it. Even if the smell is slight, it means that it has started going bad, and its safe not to eat it. Odor may change due to mold, fungus and bacteria growth in the food, which is what usually happens when seafood has gone bad. If ingested, these organisms may create serious complications inside your system, even if you have a stomach made of steel.

How To Tell If Food Is Spoiled - Step 3

Watch its surface: Take a closer look at the food. If it seems to have a slimy and sticky texture, it means that bacteria has started multiplying on its surface, and it has started going bad. If you notice any strange element on its surface, such as any green or black areas, or dark spots, it indicates that fungus has started to grow, and it’s safe to stay away from it. If its raw fruit or vegetable, make sure that its skin does not have any wrinkles, blemishes or soft spots, this is what usually also happens with mushrooms.

How To Tell If Food Is Spoiled - Step 4

If you have any further doubts on if a specific food is spoiled, take a look at our articles:

If you want to read similar articles to How To Tell If Food Is Spoiled, we recommend you visit our Food & drink category.

Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
1 of 5
How To Tell If Food Is Spoiled