You’re smelling food the wrong way – experts explain why the smell test is misleading

WE have all participated in some form of “smell test” to see if our food has gone bad or not.

You see that the expiration date was yesterday or the day before, so you sniff the product to decide if it is good for consumption.


The smell test is often used to determine if food is safe to eat.1 credit
But If Something Smells Bad, It Does Not Mean That It Is Inedible, And Vice Versa.


But if something smells bad, it does not mean that it is inedible, and vice versa.1 credit

While many believe that the smell test is a good way to determine if a food is safe to eat, experts say the test is misleading.

Kristen Gibson, Associate Professor of Food Science at the University of Arkansas. HuffPost: “You can’t smell and tell if food is safe. We can say that the quality has dropped. But it’s impossible to know it’s safe.”

According to the Food and Drug Administration, “Best Used Before/Before” dates on foods describe when a product will have optimal flavor quality.

Dates have nothing to do with security.

If you eat food after a date, it may be perfectly safe, but it may not taste as good.

This is where the smell test comes in handy: it can serve as a quick way to determine if a meal will taste good.

But just because something smells bad, like milk, doesn’t mean it will give you a dangerous illness like food poisoning.

“I wouldn’t eat or drink,” Gibson said. “I think the experience will not be very pleasant. But it shouldn’t harm you.

“You might feel sick just because you ate something that didn’t taste good, but it shouldn’t cause any kind of infection or anything like that.”

Although curdled milk does not seem appealing to drink on its own, such milk is used to make yogurt. This means that it is still safe to consume.

In conclusion, a smell test won’t tell you if a food is safe to eat because your senses aren’t that strong.

Martin Widmann, professor of food safety and food science at Cornell University, explained this:

“You can’t taste disease-causing organisms in food, and you can’t smell it.”

Widmann said that most foodborne pathogens, such as E. coli or salmonella, can cause nausea or diarrhea in small amounts, “well above the level at which you can smell or detect them.”

In other words, food won’t seem spoiled until it’s inside your body.

So, unfortunately, even if it doesn’t smell bad, it doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat.

While You Should Use Food Expiration Dates As A Guideline For Quality And Taste, They Don'T Tell You Much About Safety.


While you should use food expiration dates as a guideline for quality and taste, they don’t tell you much about safety.1 credit

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