Short Answer: If you accidentally eat expired ricotta cheese, you may get food poisoning from listeria or other bacteria that can grow in spoiled dairy products.
Ricotta cheese is a fresh cheese made from whey and some curd left behind when the two are separated during cheesemaking. Ricotta cheese is most often made from cow’s milk but can also be produced from sheep, goat, or water buffalo milk. Ricotta cheese has a mild, milky flavor and a soft, moist texture.
If you accidentally eat expired ricotta cheese, you may experience food poisoning symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. You may also have a headache, fever, and body aches.
This is because expired ricotta cheese may contain harmful bacteria such as listeria, which can cause a type of food poisoning known as listeriosis. Listeria can grow in refrigerated foods that are past their shelf life, especially dairy products.
Listeria can affect anyone, but it is especially dangerous for older people, pregnant women, small children, and those with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis can lead to serious complications such as meningitis, septicemia, miscarriage, or death.
It is quite uncommon to eat expired ricotta cheese, because it usually has a short shelf life and a noticeable change in color, odor, or flavor when it goes bad. However, some people may not check the date or the quality of the cheese before using it, or they may mistakenly think that freezing or cooking the cheese will make it safe to eat.
You can prevent food poisoning by discarding any ricotta cheese that is past its expiration date, has signs of spoilage, or has been left out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. If you have eaten expired ricotta cheese and have symptoms of food poisoning, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. You may need antibiotics or fluids to treat the infection and dehydration.
To avoid accidental eating of expired ricotta cheese, you should always store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use it within two weeks of opening. You should also label the container with the date of opening and check the date and the quality of the cheese before using it. You can also freeze ricotta cheese for up to three months, but be aware that the texture and taste may change.
Finally, remember, ricotta cheese is a delicious and versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes, such as lasagna, pizza, cheesecake, or pancakes. However, it is also a perishable food that can spoil easily and cause food poisoning if not handled properly. Therefore, you should always be careful with ricotta cheese and enjoy it while it is fresh and safe.