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Can You Get Sick From Eating Expired Miracle Whip?

Kristie Leong M.D. is a family practitioner who believes in the power of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to prevent and fight illness.

Miracle Whip is a popular spread for sandwiches and people use it as a substitute for mayonnaise. But as with all foods, it’s important to know how long to keep it to avoid food poisoning and loss of quality.

Food poisoning is a concern when you hang onto foods too long, but products also lose their taste or texture as they age. Let’s look at whether you can get sick from eating expired Miracle Whip.

What Is Miracle Whip?

Miracle Whip is a mayonnaise-like spread that comes in a jar and has its unique flavor. It is manufactured by Kraft Foods, and it has been around since 1933 when it debuted at the World Fair.

Kraft Foods developed it as a less expensive alternative to mayo. It became so popular, that it quickly outsold other mayonnaise brands and became a condiment sensation.

Miracle Whip is made from egg yolks, oil, water, vinegar, and spices. The ingredients are combined and whipped together to create a creamy spread for sandwiches, wraps, and other recipes that call for mayonnaise.

How Is It Different From Mayonnaise?

Miracle Whip and mayonnaise are not the same thing. The taste is similar, but Miracle Whip contains less oil than mayonnaise, so it’s lower in fat and has fewer calories. It also has a cheaper price tag.

How Long Does Miracle Whip Last?

The shelf life of an opened container of Miracle Whip is about a month if you store it properly in your refrigerator at 40 degrees F or below. But if you open it without refrigerating it, this smooth, creamy spread will go bad within a week or two—even faster if you don't close the lid tightly during storage.

Exposing Miracle Whip to air and storing it too long will also alter its flavor and texture. The oils in the product can separate and make the spread difficult to work with.

Do You Have to Use It by the "Best By" Date?

If you look at a jar of Miracle Whip, it should have a “best by” date on the bottom of the container. This date refers to the date by which you should use a product to enjoy the best taste and quality. It doesn’t mean you’ll get sick if you eat the product after that date. The product should still be safe for three months past that date.

Some sources say you can keep it for six months or even longer, but it’s safest to be conservative and not keep it more than three months after the best buy date. Even if it’s safe to eat, it may not taste as good.

Check for These Warning Signs

If you decide to use Miracle Whip past its best buy date, here are some things to look for:

  • Mold: If there is a layer of greenish-black slime on top of the dressing or inside of a jar, throw it away immediately! This could be mold, which is unsafe to eat.
  • Odor: If the opened jar smells sour or rotten then throw it out immediately.
  • Color changes: If the contents has changed color, discard it immediately.
  • Taste: After the best buy date, it may develop a more pungent or even sour taste.

If you notice any of the above, discard the product and don’t spread it on a sandwich or use it in recipes. Toss it!

Don’t Take Risks With Your Health

Although Miracle Whip doesn't spoil as quickly as mayonnaise, it still has a limited shelf life. If a food looks or smells bad, don't eat it! If the product has expired and you're not sure whether to use it, throw it out.

You should also toss foods left out on the counter for more than eight hours. Once you open Miracle Whip, you must refrigerate it to keep it from going bad. Also, be sure to store any recipes made with this condiment in the refrigerator.

If in doubt about whether a food is safe to eat after its best by date has passed (or just want to be extra cautious), avoid the risk altogether by tossing the product. Always throw it out if it has an unpleasant odor, color change, or change in texture.

It’s better to be safe than sorry with the food you eat and serve to your family.

References

  • "Storing Fresh Produce | Food and Nutrition Service - USDA." 08 Feb. 2012, https://www.fns.usda.gov/storing-fresh-produce.
  • "Is homemade mayonnaise safe? - USDA." 17 Jul. 2019, https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Is-homemade-mayonnaise-safe.
  • "Miracle Whip vs. Mayo: What’s the Difference? - Healthline." 22 Jul. 2019, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/miracle-whip-vs-mayo.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.