Can You Get Sick From Unrefrigerated Parmesan Cheese?


Parmesan cheese is a popular ingredient used in various dishes around the world. However, there may be some confusion regarding its storage requirements.

Can you get sick from unrefrigerated Parmesan cheese? This article aims to answer that question and provide you with valuable information about the proper handling and storage of Parmesan cheese.

The Importance of Refrigeration:

Refrigeration plays a crucial role in preventing the growth of harmful bacteria on food products. When it comes to perishable items like dairy products, including Parmesan cheese, refrigeration is essential to maintain their freshness and safety.

Why Does Parmesan Cheese Need Refrigeration?

Parmesan cheese is made from unpasteurized milk, which means it contains natural bacteria that can multiply rapidly when exposed to warm temperatures. These bacteria can cause foodborne illnesses such as listeriosis or salmonellosis if consumed in large quantities.

The Dangers of Unrefrigerated Parmesan Cheese:

Leaving Parmesan cheese unrefrigerated for an extended period can increase the risk of bacterial contamination. The warm environment allows bacteria to multiply rapidly, potentially leading to food poisoning when consumed.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever

Tips for Properly Storing Parmesan Cheese:

  1. Refrigeration: Always store Parmesan cheese in the refrigerator at a temperature below 40°F (4°C). This helps slow down bacterial growth and maintain its quality.
  2. Sealed Containers: Store Parmesan cheese in an airtight container or resealable bag to prevent moisture and odors from affecting its flavor and texture.
  3. Avoid Contamination: Make sure to handle Parmesan cheese with clean hands or utensils to prevent cross-contamination with bacteria from other food items.
  4. Expiration Dates: Check the expiration date on the packaging and consume the cheese before that date for optimal freshness and safety.

The Importance of Cheese Quality:

Parmesan cheese, like any other food product, should be consumed within its recommended shelf life for the best quality. Even if you refrigerate it properly, consuming expired or spoiled Parmesan cheese can still lead to unpleasant symptoms. Always inspect the cheese for any signs of mold, unusual odors, or discoloration before consuming.

In Summary

In conclusion, leaving Parmesan cheese unrefrigerated can increase the risk of bacterial contamination and potential food poisoning. It is vital to store Parmesan cheese in a cool environment like a refrigerator to maintain its freshness and safety. By following proper storage guidelines and paying attention to expiration dates, you can enjoy your delicious Parmesan cheese without worrying about getting sick.