Can Stilton Cheese Make You Sick?

You ate Stilton cheese, and you found it as delicious and irresistible as always. But this time, something was off… you felt sick shortly after eating it.

So you acted as any bright, well-informed person would have done if they were in your situation You reached for your phone, fired up your favorite browser, and asked if Stilton cheese can make you sick.

It’s good that you stopped by because that’s what this whole article is all about. To help you figure out if the Stilton cheese was indeed the source of your discomfort — and judge the seriousness of it all — we’re going to ask you four questions:

  • Was the Stilton cheese spoiled when you ate it?
  • Are you lactose intolerant?
  • Or, could you be allergic to casein?
  • Last but not least, what else did you eat?

Let’s dive in.

Was the Stilton Cheese Spoiled When You Ate It?

Many people mistakenly believe that spoiled food is generally safe to eat, even though it smells weird and tastes bad. But it’s also a safety concern — you can get sick from eating spoiled cheese — and Stilton cheese is no exception.

Stilton cheese can go bad if it hasn’t been stored properly. You know it’s there when it smells overly medicinal, is covered in pink instead of green or blue mold, or oozes brown liquid in its packaging.

Stilton cheese that’s gone bad should be discarded because it can make you sick. Once theStilton cheese  is past its prime, it can get contaminated with pathogenic bacteria and cause food poisoning.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common symptoms of food poisoning are an upset stomach, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a fever.1(2020). Food Poisoning Symptoms. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/symptoms.html

These symptoms could take hours or days to appear if the Stilton cheese was the cause of your food poisoning, it goes on to say on the CDC’s website. Drink plenty of water and if the fever is high or the diarrhea is bloody or lasts more than 3 days, call your doctor.

Are You Lactose Intolerant?

If the Stilton cheese wasn’t spoiled, your body’s digestion of it might be to blame.

As infants, our bodies could easily process lactose (the sugar naturally contained in milk) because breast milk was essential to our survival. However, with age, our diet changes, and our capacity to digest milk sometimes declines, so we might develop lactose intolerance.

Lactose intolerance is when you get bloating, gas, or diarrhea from eating dairy products like Stilton cheese, which contain lactose. Being lactose intolerant is not the same thing as being allergic to milk; it doesn’t involve the immune system.2(n.d.). Milk Allergy Vs. Lactose Intolerance. FoodAllergy.org. https://www.foodallergy.org/resources/milk-allergy-vs-lactose-intolerance It doesn’t necessarily harm you, it simply causes you discomfort. (Which, in many cases, is enough to make you avoid dairy products altogether.)

Most cheeses have a relatively low amount of lactose. But if you eat too much or have low tolerance, it can just as well cause issues. To learn more about lactose in Stilton cheese, check out our article on the topic titled, “Does Stilton Cheese Have Lacose?”.

Are You Allergic to Casein?

Stilton cheese is a source of casein, the protein naturally found in milk. And, according to an article on the topic by Mayo Clinic, ingesting casein proteins can cause your immune system to react negatively if you are allergic to milk.3(2022). Milk allergy – Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/milk-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20375101

As explained by Mary Anne Dunkin who writes for WebMD, most people develop symptoms of milk allergy when they are young and outgrow them as they get older. But those signs don’t always go away, and even as you get older, your body can still react negatively to Stilton cheese and sources of casein in general.4(2020). Casein Allergy Overview. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/allergies/casein-allergy-overview

The symptoms of milk allergy include hives, an upset stomach, vomiting, and the rare, potentially life-threatening condition of anaphylaxis.

What Else Did You Eat Aside From Stilton Cheese?

Suppose for a moment that the Stilton cheese hasn’t gone bad, you’re not lactose intolerant, and you’re definitely not allergic to casein, but you nevertheless felt sick after eating it.

What other foods did you eat? If you ate the Stilton cheese with bread, was the bread moldy? Were all the cheeses and meats on the charcuterie board fresh when you ate from it? Had the Stilton cheese, if it was in a salad dressing or a sauce, been properly refrigerated before being served to you?

The Bottom Line: Getting Sick From Stilton Cheese

Stilton cheese, like any other food, has the potential to sicken you if it was bad when you ate it. Eating Stilton cheese can also cause bowel discomfort if you suffer from lactose intolerance, and trigger an adverse reaction from your immune system if you are allergic to casein.

References

  • 1
    (2020). Food Poisoning Symptoms. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/symptoms.html
  • 2
    (n.d.). Milk Allergy Vs. Lactose Intolerance. FoodAllergy.org. https://www.foodallergy.org/resources/milk-allergy-vs-lactose-intolerance
  • 3
    (2022). Milk allergy – Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/milk-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20375101
  • 4
    (2020). Casein Allergy Overview. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/allergies/casein-allergy-overview

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