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Can You Get Food Poisoning From Wine?

Rebecca Hanlon
Last Updated: February 28th, 2023

Drinking too much red or white wine can make you sick and make you feel like you have food poisoning. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean you can get food poisoning from red or white wine.

According to the Mayo Clinic, food poisoning occurs when you ingest food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, toxins, or parasites.

The usual bacteria that cause food poisoning are Escherichia coli, known as E. coli, or staphylococcus. You can experience food poisoning by improperly handling food, eating undercooked food, or ingesting contaminated water.

Some people with a weaker immune system may experience food poisoning. Symptoms are fever, nausea, and diarrhea.

Wines are antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, so it’s very hard to get food poisoning from wine. However, the grapevines develop infections from pathogens and receive treatment from the growers. Yet, their diseases never cross over to the consumer.

White Wine

women sipping white wine

White wine comes from white grapes as lighter than red wine and with high acid content.

You cannot get any food poisoning from white wine, even if the wine is bad. Bad white wine has turned into vinegar. It is antimicrobial, meaning white wine kills most bacteria that cause food poisoning.

During the production, winemakers avoid excess oxygen. Otherwise, red and white wines may lose aroma, flavor, and color. Excess oxygen eventually leads to white wine turning into white vinegar.

So, if you open a new bottle of white wine and smell or taste vinegar, something unexpected happens during the winemaking process. In fact, an opened bottle of white wine left unattended too long will turn into vinegar.

Digestive Aid

digestive aid

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) compared white wine, red wine and bismuth salicylate (Pepto Bismal) in common bacteria.

The study showed that undiluted wine had more effect than the over-the-counter medication in decreasing the Salmonella colonies, E. coli, and shigella.

Therefore, wine has antimicrobial agents and can kill common bacteria, especially white wine. Also, as an antibacterial agent, wine has a reputation as a digestive aid.

Red Wine

a woman drinking red wine

Consuming too much alcohol gives anyone an awful hangover. But some individuals feel sick just after one glass of red wine. Symptoms can range from an itchy rash and a pounding headache to a wheezing cough.

The substances in red wine can wreak havoc with some unlucky people with bodies that can’t manage them — congeners. They are chemical byproducts from fermentation, giving beverages a distinct flavour.

Congeners in red wine include tannins, which cause migraine headaches. In fact, if you get a head every time you drink red wine, consider switching to white wine.

Some people have allergic reactions to red wine, experiencing coughing, wheezing, or itching. Winemakers use sulfites as a preservative, which causes these reactions.

But, if you have an itchy rash and abdominal pain, it’s another allergen called histamine. Histamine can also cause headaches, not severe as migraines.

A protein called LTP, which gives the wine its red color, can also cause allergic reactions in certain people, including flushing of the skin and diarrhea.

Though it won’t cause a severe, life-threatening reaction, it is uncomfortable. You may want to forget red wine and drink white wine.

Take Precautions

take precautions

If you think you have food poison, contact your healthcare provider because it could be severe. The usual food poisoning lasts a few days. It’s essential to keep your body hydrated.

Even though wine helps kill bacteria causing food poisoning, it’s best to consume water and non-caffeinated drinks. Also, avoid solid foods until diarrhea has gone away. Dairy products may make symptoms worse.

Final Thoughts

Red or white wine will not cause food poisoning. If anything, wine helps prevent food poisoning when you add it to water and drink it. And wine is also a digestive aid.

However, food poisoning comes from ingesting tainted food or water. If you have food poisoning, contact your physician for a consultation. Usually, food poisoning will pass in a few days.

About The Author

Rebecca Hanlon

Rebecca has been a blogger for over 5 years, before that enjoying a number of jobs to fund her passion for travel. She's taught English as a foreign language, a part-time Barista, a waitress, and a tour guide.

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