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Side Effects of Eating Expired Yogurt

author image August McLaughlin
August McLaughlin is a certified nutritionist and health writer with more than nine years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as "Healthy Aging," "CitySmart," "IAmThatGirl" and "ULM." She holds specializations in eating disorders, healthy weight management and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her second cookbook and Weight Limit—a series of body image/nutrition-related PSAs.
Side Effects of Eating Expired Yogurt
Yogurt and spoon on a white background. Photo Credit: AAAAAA AAAAAA/iStock/Getty Images

Yogurt that has been stored long past its sell-by date can cause a range of bothersome side effects. Yet, according to a HealthDay News report published on February 2, 2009, Americans commonly consume expired foods, such as yogurt, simply because they own it and may consume expired foods that still appear to be edible. If you fear you've consumed expired yogurt and are experiencing side effects, seek guidance from your doctor.

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Diarrhea, or loose, excessive stools, is a common symptom of foodborne illness. According to the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois, foodborne illnesses are caused by bacteria that can occur through improper food handling. Bacteria also grow and accumulate on aged or improperly preserved foods, such as yogurt. Diarrhea is a common symptom that occurs after one has consumed expired yogurt, as the body is attempting to rid itself of harmful toxins the yogurt provided. To prevent such a reaction, check expiration dates on yogurt packaging and do not consume it past the expiration date. If you experience diarrhea, be sure to consume plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Abdominal Cramping

Cramping in the abdominal area may also develop after consuming expired yogurt. Once you have consumed a contaminated food, there is a delay before symptoms of illness become apparent, which may last from hours to days, depending upon how much bacteria and what type of bacteria has been consumed. If you experience abdominal cramping within hours or days of eating expired yogurt, the yogurt is a probable culprit. If such cramping is severe, worsens or persists, seek medical attention.


Vomiting can occur as a result of consuming expired foods, such as yogurt. Extensive vomiting can lead to physical weakness, electrolyte imbalances and dehydration. To ensure proper health and safety, contact your doctor if vomiting or related symptoms occur after you eat expired yogurt.

Storage and Considerations

According to the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, you should store yogurt and other dairy products on refrigerator shelves, rather than the door, for best preservation, and you should not consume it after designated use-by dates. If your yogurt has not yet passed its use-by date but smells unusual or otherwise "off," throw it away rather than risk getting sick. If you buy yogurt with a sell-by date, rather than a use-by date, make sure you consume it within a reasonable time frame -- it tends to spoil quickly once the sell-by date has passed.

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