Is it dangerous to eat sausages from a swollen container?

Some foods are meant to be puffy, like candy sponges. But packaged foods aren’t usually one of those. Still, there may be times when we are in the store and see bloated packages of meats and sausages. We should pay attention to this oddity, and for good reason.

Some air is already found in any packaged food. Different types of food containers use a different amount of air depending on the food. Perishable foods such as cheese and sausage are typically packed with little or no air to prevent the growth of microorganisms. Other foods, such as chips, are packed in a bag with extra air to preserve texture and prevent damage. That’s normal. But if an item has swollen beyond its expected size, becoming a bloated container, it’s likely to be noticed.

Increase of microorganisms

Swollen containers do not always mean that the food they contain is unsafe to eat. If we live in a high altitude area, a package of food can swell because the air pressure inside the package is higher than the ambient air pressure outside. In that case, the food is not spoiled.

But most puffy packages occur when microorganisms found in perishable foods produce gases, such as carbon dioxide. Some of these microorganisms cause food to spoil, and others can even cause food poisoning.

Bloating can happen to all kinds of foods. However, dry, low-moisture foods, such as raisins or peanut butter, are much less likely to suffer from this outcome. This is because the moisture content in these foods is far below what microorganisms need to grow.

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Do not consume swollen containers

Experts suggest some common sense practices. Obviously, we will not buy any product with inflated packaging. We will store the food properly in the expected conditions. And, of course, we will avoid exposure to extreme heat or sunlight, which can damage food packaging. We will always look at the expiration date of the food before eating it. Above all, we will use our own good judgment.

If the food is days or even weeks past the printed expiration date and the package is swollen in a way that it shouldn’t be in its normal, original packaging, it’s always a good idea to dispose of the food for safety reasons.