What happens if you eat bad beef broth?

In this article, we will answer the question “What happens if you eat bad beef broth?”, how long does beef broth last past the expiry, how to tell if the beef broth is bad, and how to store beef broth.

What happens if you eat bad beef broth?

What will happen after eating bad beef broth is whatever happens after consuming spoiled food, that is, food poisoning. Food poisoning can be identified by symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, headaches, and stomach cramps. 

If the beef broth has just started to go bad, you can make it salvageable in terms of safety by giving it a boil and holding it at the boiling temperature for about 10 minutes. 

Vegetative forms of bacteria are killed by heating at 150 degrees for 1 minute. It is the toxins that you need the beef broth to be exposed to high temperatures for at least 10 minutes.

How long does beef broth last past the expiry?

The store-bought beef broth comes in aseptic and hermetic packaging. As long as the packaging is intact and the beef broth is unopened, you can expect it to stay good for up to a year past the printed date.

However, this only applies if the beef broth is stored in ideal conditions, such as in a cool cupboard or pantry and the storage conditions are also consistent. 

Once opened, do not keep the beef broth refrigerated for more than 5 days or it becomes a haven for bacteria to multiply. If you want the opened can of beef broth to last a long shelf-life, consider freezing it right away after opening it the very first time.

How can you tell that the beef broth has turned?

Smell: Pay attention because the smell of the beef broth can tell you a lot about the safety and quality of a food item. In the case of the beef broth, you are looking for a pungent sour or ammonia-like smell. That’s your cue to empty the can of beef broth down the drain.

Inspect the container: You know what a normal can of beef broth looks like, then there’s a spoiled can with a swollen or bulging lid. This is what gives away that the contents of the can have spoiled.

The bulging happens from the gas pressure built up inside the can. Yes, you guessed it right! The gas is produced by pathogenic bacteria, mostly C. Botulinum. Apart from the gas, C. botulinum produces neurotoxins.

The storage practices count: Beef broth, either store-bought or homemade, should be consistently stored at 4C or below. There’s no debate about it. However, you should never let the beef broth sit on the counter for more than 2 hours.

Even if the beef broth ‘looks’ good after 2 hours of sitting out, it is deemed unfit for consumption by the books of USDA

The rationale is that the bacteria or their toxins are not visible to the naked eye so you can only place your bet on how the beef broth was stored or kept. 

Expiration date: Keep track of the expiration date. It is not recommended that you use the beef broth after the expiry.

Appearance: Here, you are looking for a golden yellow color. If otherwise, the beef broth has turned. The discoloration may be a sign of both, enzymatic spoilage and microbial spoilage.

What’s the best way to store beef broth?

The general rule of thumb is to keep the beef broth cans in a cool, dry, and dark place. If unopened, beef broth cans should be fine sitting in a cool pantry or a kitchen cupboard away from heat, and moisture.

Once opened, the storage guidelines differ. Now, you must keep the beef broth in the refrigerator at a steady temperature to prevent spoilage. Apart from the refrigerator temperature, the seal of the beef broth should be your top consideration.

If the original container isn’t sufficient, consider using a clean and sterilized air-tight jar or container. The goal is to minimize the exposure of beef broth to oxygen.

The same considerations apply when freezing beef broth. There are two ways you can safely freeze your beef broth. First, you can use an air-tight bottle or jar. Second, you can freeze the beef broth in an ice-cube tray or a muffin tray.

If you are short on freezer space, the latter freezing method is a great way to cope. You can also transfer the frozen cubes of beef broth to a heavy-duty freezer bag. Make sure to express out as much air as possible from the bag. Also, label the bag before freezing.


In this article, we answered the question “What happens if you eat bad beef broth?”, how long does beef broth last past the expiry, how to tell if the beef broth is bad, and how to store beef broth.


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