I Ate Bad Cheese That Smells Bad! What Do I Do?

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Have you ever wondered what might happen if you eat bad cheese? “I ate bad cheese that smells bad!” is what you might find yourself saying if you accidentally eat cheese that smells rancid, tastes awful, and has lost its former texture. But should you be concerned about your health if you eat bad cheese? Join us as we set out to answer your burning questions related to consuming bad cheese. 

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chips in cheese

What Will Happen If You Eat Smelly Cheese?

It depends. 

Aside from your typical kitchen conundrums such as what to do with undercooked cheesecake or what to do with undercooked brownies, what will happen if you eat smelly cheese just might top your list of kitchen questions because it could have a direct affect on your health.

We hear you! But just because your cheese stinks, doesn’t mean it’s old.

There are many kinds of cheese, including parmesan cheese, that have a naturally stinky odor. 

If, however, your cheese smells particularly strong or has a rancid odor, you may want to check the expiration date.

If you find that your cheese is indeed old, you may experience the following symptoms as a result of eating old cheese: 

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Cramping
  • Loose Stools
  • Vomiting

What Should I Do If I Ate Bad Cheese?

If you eat bad cheese, you may not need to do anything. Unless you have severe stomach or gastrointestinal issues, it isn’t necessary to seek medical help.

If, however, you find that you are vomiting, experiencing loose stools, or are noticing other unsavory symptoms from having consumed bad cheese, you may consider avoiding foods for a few hours then following up with something dry and bland–such as toast, rice or crackers–until you can get your stomach settled. 

What Happens If You Eat Bad Cheese?

Depending on how old the cheese was, you could end up with food poisoning.

Though eating moldy or otherwise expired cheese doesn’t always hurt you, you could end up experiencing digestive issues as a result of your consumption of the bad cheese. 

Never continue to eat cheese that is making you sick, even if it seems okay in terms of taste and texture. 

How Long After Eating Bad Cheese Do You Get Sick?

Eating bad cheese can manifest gnarly symptoms within 24 hours of consumption.

If you suspect that your cheese is the culprit, quickly discard it, especially if there is a risk that others living with you might consume the cheese as well. 

If your cheese seems fresh and tastes okay, make sure it is actually the cheese that has caused you to become ill and not something else. 

Can Bad Cheese Make You Sick?

Yes, it can.

Bad cheese can make you sick the same way any expired, old, or rotten food can. The symptoms that present themselves are typically referred to as “food poisoning”.

If you have a high fever, bloody stool, or if you cannot seem to keep down liquids, you may want to give your local doctor a call to see what can be provided for treatment. 

pizza with melted cheese

Is It Bad to Eat Cheese That Smells Bad?

Not necessarily.

Remember, cheese that smells bad is a common and natural occurrence, and thus, isn’t always a cause for concern in most cases. 

Still, there are times when the odor of cheese may seem particularly strong or “off” in some way. In this case, we would recommend that you avoid eating the cheese. 

Cheese Smells Sour

If you smell your cheese and it smells sour, it could be that your cheese has gone bad. 

Because cheese is a dairy product, the sour smell it produces when it goes bad can help you determine when it’s time to throw your cheese away.

Be sure, however, that it isn’t just you; sometimes illness and pregnancy can distort your sense of smell making the cheese smell like something it actually doesn’t. 

Cheese wheels

Accidentally Ate Moldy Cheese

What Happens If You Eat Moldy Cheese

It could be that nothing happens to you if you eat moldy cheese.

Contrary to what most believe, not all molds are harmful. However, if you’ve got sensitivities to mold, you may experience unwanted symptoms such as runny nose, post-nasal drip, or frequent sneezing. 

Don’t have a mold allergy? You may still experience gastrointestinal issues after eating moldy cheese, but this will depend on how much mold was consumed. 

Shredded Cheese Smells Bad, But No Mold

If your shredded cheese smells unusual but does not have mold, you might not want to use it. Though mold hasn’t shown itself, the “off” smell of your cheese might be an indication that you need to steer clear of it.

Accidentally Ate Moldy Mozzarella Cheese

If you accidentally eat moldy mozzarella cheese, you should look for signs of illness within the next 24 hours. 

Accidentally Ate Moldy Provolone Cheese

If no illness occurs within 24 hours of having consumed moldy provolone cheese, you shouldn’t need to worry. 

Accidentally Ate Moldy Pepper Jack Cheese

Pepper Jack cheese is delicious but covered in mold, it might give you issues. If you are vomiting, wheezing, sneezing, experiencing diarrhea, or having stomach cramps, you may want to phone your doctor for proper treatment. 

I Ate Bad Cheese and My Stomach Hurts. What now?

If you ate bad cheese recently and notice that your stomach hurts, try drinking a soothing tea or eating a few crackers to see if that helps settle things. You may even wish to try over-the-counter remedies such as Pepto-Bismol for additional comfort. 

If these remedies don’t work, you’ll want to call your local doctor for more information on how best to alleviate your symptoms. 

FAQs

How long does cheese last in the fridge?

That will depend on the cheese.
Some cheeses, like parmesan, may stay good for up to 6 weeks after openin, even past expiry. Others, like fresh mozzarella, will only last 7-10 days. Be sure to do your research before consuming any cheese that has sat in your fridge for awhile, especially if it is showing signs of spoilage. 

How to tell if cheese is bad?

A quick way to determine whether or not your cheese is bad is by observing the following: taste, texture and smell.
Of these three categories, note any changes you see that deviate from when the cheese was fresh. And remember–when it doubt, throw it out! 

Eating Bad Cheese Won’t Always Send You to the Hospital…

Besides a few stomach cramps, you may find that you don’t experience any symptoms at all after eating bad cheese. But if you do experience severe symptoms that include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and the like, it isn’t a bad idea to give your local healthcare provider a call.

Concerning cheese storage and safety, remember to keep your cheese tightly wrapped and stored in the fridge to prevent mold and baccteria growth.

Always discard cheese that has a strange taste, texture, or smell to avoid illness related to eating expired cheese. 

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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