Horror ! Have you just discovered that the food you just consumed was a few days out of date? What risks do you run and what attitude should you adopt? Dr. Gérald Kierzek responds.
It is the 12th and unfortunately you have just realized that this tray of mixed salad that you have just devoured had to be consumed before the 10th? Should you start panicking? No, replies Dr. Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician and medical director of TipsForWomens. But certain details must be observed.
Pay attention to the mentions DDM and DLC
The first thing to do in this type of situation is to clarify the terms used on the food.
- If it is a DDMthat is to say minimum durability date, (or even “best before…”), don’t worry, your health is not. “It’s a qualitative problem, the product may lose quality, but there is no safety risk.” So dry cakes, pasta, rice, honey or even chocolate are not likely to make you sick.
- If it is a DLC, that is to say a use-by date, this means that you are faced with a microbiologically perishable product. Food can be conducive to the development of bacteria such as salmonella, Listeria or staphylococci. “Again, these are generally given with a margin of error. But they must be respected, especially for cold meats or creams.”
Our expert also recalls an imperative: “The deadline applies to closed and unopened products. Once opened, do not rely on the date written on the packaging. “It’s two or three days max even if the date is still good!”
Monitor your symptoms
Unfortunately, if you have ingested an expired product, there is not much you can do, our expert explains, except monitor your symptoms… which may never happen. There is no point in making yourself vomit as a precaution. “The risk is to catch gastroenteritis, called food poisoning, which will cause diarrhea and/or vomiting, but which will pass on its own”. Not pleasant, but generally not dangerous.
However, a risk of dehydration occurs in vulnerable groups: babies, the elderly or those who are immunocompromised. The risk “If the person concerned is unable to hydrate, it becomes important to consult to treat the person with rehydration solutions. On the other hand, antibiotics are very rarely prescribed in this case, only in the case of very specific bacteria.
Consult urgently in case of neurological or ophthalmic signs
The last thing to know is to be vigilant regarding botulism, a possible risk if the food consumed comes from a homemade preserve, for example.
“If your intestinal signs are accompanied by ophthalmological signs (such as seeing double), or neurological signs, consult without delay or even call 15” alerts our emergency doctor.