Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Tomatoes are used in a wide variety of recipes, and also make a nutritious snack between meals. As with other fruits and vegetables, a tomato is only good for a set amount of time. Once this time passes, eating the tomato or adding it to a recipe is not recommended. Thoroughly inspect the inside and outside of a tomato for signs it has gone bad to prevent you and others from getting sick.

Hemera Technologies/ Images

Notice the color of the tomato. Throw it away if it is not a solid red color or if you see any discoloration.

Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

Look for cracks, mold spots, sunken areas or other damage on the outside surface of the tomato. All of these indicate the tomato is bad.

Tay Jnr/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Grip, don't squeeze, the tomato. A good tomato is firm enough that it doesn't sink in as you hold it. Throw the tomato away if it seems soft.

Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

Smell the outside of the tomato. A bad tomato smells rancid and unpleasant.

Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Slice the tomato in half. Feel the inside of the tomato. Throw it away if its inside feels slimy.

Inspect the inside of tomato for mold spots, discolored areas or rancid smells. Discard the tomato if you notice any of these conditions.


Do not eat a tomato you think is bad, as rotten tomatoes cause food-borne illnesses. Use a “better safe than sorry” approach if you're unsure about the quality of the tomato.

About the Author

Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith has been a freelance writer since 2006, specializing in sports and technology. His work has appeared on various online sites. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Pennsylvania State University.