Eating Expired Tapioca Pearls: What will Happen?

Short Answer: If you accidentally eat expired tapioca pearls, you may get sick from food poisoning or allergic reactions.

Tapioca pearls are small, chewy balls made from tapioca starch, which is extracted from the cassava root.

They are a common ingredient in bubble tea, a popular Taiwanese drink that consists of tea, milk, sugar, and tapioca pearls.

Tapioca pearls typically have a long shelf life and can last for months or even years if they are properly stored in a cool, dry place and sealed in an airtight container.

However, once they are exposed to air, moisture, or heat, they can start to deteriorate and lose their quality.

If you accidentally eat expired tapioca pearls, you may experience some unpleasant symptoms such as stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or allergic reactions.

This is because expired tapioca pearls may contain harmful bacteria, mold, or toxins that can cause food poisoning or infections.

Expired tapioca pearls may also have a bad taste, smell, or texture, making them less enjoyable to eat.

Tapioca pearls are made from cassava root, which contains a toxic compound called linamarin.

Linamarin can convert to hydrocyanic acid, which is highly poisonous, when cassava root is improperly processed or stored.

Hydrocyanic acid can interfere with the body’s ability to use oxygen, leading to symptoms such as dizziness, headache, confusion, weakness, difficulty breathing, or even death in severe cases.

It is quite uncommon to eat expired tapioca pearls, as most people would notice the signs of spoilage before consuming them.

However, some people may not pay attention to the expiration date or the condition of the tapioca pearls, or they may mistakenly use them in their bubble tea or other dishes.

You can prevent or treat the effects of eating expired tapioca pearls by following these steps:

  • Check the expiration date and the appearance, smell, and texture of the tapioca pearls before using them. If they are past their expiration date or show signs of spoilage, such as discoloration, white spots, mold, or bad odor, discard them immediately and do not eat them.
  • Store the tapioca pearls in a cool, dry place and in an airtight container to prevent exposure to air, moisture, or heat. This will help to preserve their quality and prevent bacterial or fungal growth.
  • Cook the tapioca pearls thoroughly and according to the instructions on the package. This will help to kill any potential pathogens and make the pearls softer and chewier.
  • If you have eaten expired tapioca pearls and experience any symptoms of food poisoning or allergic reactions, such as stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention as soon as possible. You may need to take antibiotics, antihistamines, or other medications to treat the infection or the allergy.

Finally, remember, tapioca pearls are a delicious and fun addition to your bubble tea or other desserts, but they should be consumed fresh and in moderation.

Expired tapioca pearls can pose a health risk and ruin your enjoyment of your favorite drink or dish.

About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutrition coach with over 7 years of experience in the field of nutrition.

He holds a Bachelor's (B.Sc.) and Master's (M.Sc.) degree in Biochemistry from The University of Burdwan, India. He was also involved with a research project about genetic variations in the CYP11A gene among PCOS and Metabolic Syndrome patients.

He has completed the following online courses: Stanford Introduction to Food and Health by Stanford University (US) through Coursera, Certificate in Nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc. (US), Lose Weight and Keep It Off certificate course from Harvard Medical School (US), and Nutrition and Disease Prevention by Taipei Medical University (Taiwan) through FutureLearn.

Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals.

Leave a Comment