Can Expired Cooking Spray Make You Sick?

Expired cooking sprays are usually nothing more than an empty can with a little residual oil left at the bottom. You probably don’t think twice about using one again unless you see visible mold or other signs of deterioration. Even then, it’s not likely to make you sick if you use it for non-food surfaces. If you find out your sprays have expired and you’ve used them on food, however, you may wonder what risks they pose. Mustard is a common additive in cooking sprays that might give you pause. Mustard oils are known to be carcinogenic when eaten raw and can cause serious gastrointestinal distress when eaten in large quantities over time. Read on to learn more about the safety of expired cooking spray and your risk of illness as a result of using it once its shelf life has ended.

What Does Cooking Spray Do?

Cooking sprays are oil-based vegetable oils combined with emulsifiers, solvents, stabilizers, and preservatives used to reduce the amount of oil needed in frying or cooking. Cooking sprays are also sometimes used as a substitute for oil when baking. They may contain a variety of fats, such as soybean, corn, canola, cottonseed, and sunflower oils, depending on the type you are using. The advantage of using cooking sprays in baking is that the oil doesn’t have time to go rancid, so it doesn’t impart any off flavors to your baked goods.

Can Expired Cooking Spray Make You Sick

If you’re still using an old can of cooking spray, you might be worried about its safety. First of all, cooking sprays are meant to be used once, so they’re not made to last forever. The shelf life of cooking sprays is usually less than a year. Signs of a bad can of cooking spray include the propellant having evaporated and the oil having separated from the solvents. If the can has been sitting in your kitchen cabinet for a very long time and you detect any strange smells, you should discard it. If you find out your sprays have expired and you’ve used them on food, however, you may wonder what risks they pose. Mustard is a common additive in cooking sprays that might give you pause. Mustard oils are known to be carcinogenic when eaten raw and can cause serious gastrointestinal distress when eaten in large quantities over time.

How to Tell If Your Cooking Spray is Bad

You can smell the propellant evaporating from the can to indicate that it is past its prime. It should not smell “hot” or like a burnt match. You can also visually inspect the can for signs of deterioration, including visible mold, rust, or an improper color. If you’re not sure, you can open the can and use a magnet to check if there is any iron left in the bottom. If there is, the oil has separated from the solvent and it’s time to toss it.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Concerned About Expired Cooking Sprays

If you’re still wondering whether you should be concerned about expired cooking sprays, the answer is no. Cooking sprays are basically edible oil and the FDA has even stated that expired cooking sprays are safe to eat from a health standpoint. The only concern is that the spray won’t work as well, which means you’ll have to use more of it to get the desired effect. And in some cases, the propellant may have evaporated, which means the spray will come out in a less consistent and more forceful manner.

Are there Any Health Risks from Using Expired Cooking Spray?

If you’re still wondering whether you should be concerned about expired cooking sprays, the answer is no. Cooking sprays are basically edible oil and the FDA has even stated that expired cooking sprays are safe to eat from a health standpoint. The only concern is that the spray won’t work as well, which means you’ll have to use more of it to get the desired effect. And in some cases, the propellant has evaporated, which means the spray will come out in a less consistent and more forceful manner. That being said, you should avoid using old cooking sprays on food items that don’t get washed off, such as vegetables. Cooking sprays are intended to be used on surfaces like meat and eggs that are then eaten after being washed off.

Bottom Line

Don’t let fear of expired cooking sprays keep you from making tasty baked goods, fried or roasted foods. If you’re in doubt, though, you can always use a fresh cooking spray. When in doubt, throw it out. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re worried about the safety of your expired cooking sprays, buy fresh ones. When it comes to food safety, there really is no such thing as being too careful.

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