Can You Get Food Poisoning From a Bad Bottle of White Wine?

White wine, made from white grapes, is a lighter wine that has a high acid content. Many regions around the world produce white wine grapes. You cannot get food poisoning from a bad bottle of white wine. Bad white wine becomes vinegar. White wine is antimicrobial and kills most of the bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

A glass of white wine being poured. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Bad White Wine

Throughout the wine-making process, winemakers are especially careful to avoid excess oxygen. Oxygen can cause white and red wines to develop a loss of color, flavor and aroma. Too much oxygen can eventually lead your white wine to become white wine vinegar. If a brand new bottle of white wine smells or tastes like vinegar, something went wrong during the wine-making process. If you have an opened bottle of white wine around for too long, the oxygen will also turn the wine into vinegar.

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning occurs when you consume a substance that has been contaminated with bacteria, parasites or viruses. The common bacteria that cause food poisoning are staphylococcus or escherichia coli, also known as E. coli. You can develop food poisoning from undercooked food, improper food handling, contaminated water or food that has not been properly stored. Infants, elderly and people with weakened immune system are more likely to develop food poisoning. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and nausea.

Research

Wine, especially white wine, has antimicrobial properties and can kill common bacteria such as E.coli and salmonella, according to Mark Daeschel, a microbiologist at Oregon State University. Research published in 1995 in the "British Medical Journal" compared red wine, white wine and bismuth salicylate --Pepto Bismal -- in common bacteria. Researchers found that undiluted wine was as effective as bismuth salicylate in reducing viable organisms. Diluted wine was more effective than the over-the-counter medication in decreasing colonies of E. coli, salmonella and shigella, according to research.

Precautions

Consult your physician if you think you have food poisoning. Most common types of food poisoning go away after a few days. Drinking fluids is important with food poisoning to prevent dehydration. Water is the best fluid to hydrate your body. Although white wine might help to kill the bacteria that cause food poisoning, you should primarily consume water or other non-caffeinated beverages. You should avoid solid foods until you do not have diarrhea. Dairy products might also worsen symptoms.

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