Food Safety Issues/Boxed soup product


Dole boxed soup, purchased month ago; opened the twist-off cap, inside seal was broken completely. Smell was very strong, thought it was the garlic, heated & ate. Starting feeling bad, read the box, must be refrigerated immediately after opening. Technically it was 'open' in cupboard for month. Food poisoning?

Hi Sherry,

It's possible that you have some form of food-borne illness though without laboratory analysis of the soup it would be impossible to determine. And I don't think you want to pay for a laboratory to analyze it as it can be quite expensive. It's impossible to determine by sight, smell or taste if a food has a food borne microorganism present since they give no indicators that they are present.  

Most foodborne illness that cause a quick response (30 minutes to 15 hours after consuming) are not the most dangerous type and rarely cause more than the usual nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  More dangerous food borne illness microorganisms normally take several days after consuming before symptoms start to occur.  

Food spoilage organisms could also be present and while these can cause minor symptoms they do not have lasting consequences. Food spoilage organisms often give off signals they are present including a change in flavor, color, texture, etc. Since you mentioned a strong smell this could be a sign of food spoilage as opposed to food borne illness organisms. The good thing about food spoilage organisms is that they usually don't make you ill.

I would monitor your symptoms and if they become worse, then I would seek medical attention.

Here's hoping that by the time you read this response you are felling better.


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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