The Biggest Red Flag You Should Look Out For When Buying Mayonnaise

When buying mayonnaise, there are many things to consider, the most popular of which is more than likely going to be cost. Cheaper, in many circumstances, is usually better.

However, particularly for mayonnaise, quality must not be overlooked — especially when the contents of a viral TikTok video are considered. In the clip, uploaded by TikTok user kemos.therapy, a jar of apparently unopened Clover Valley mayonnaise is pictured on a store shelf with white gloop at the bottom and oil on top. When shaken, the substances mix to resemble mayonnaise once more.

In addition to describing the split mayonnaise as "disgusting," the TikTokker claims that eating it will "get you sick." Undeniably, the mayonnaise looks far from appealing and is definitely not something you'd expect to find on a shop floor, and it's probably worth snagging a different, non-separated bottle. However, like so much on social media, the science is lacking. Split mayonnaise will not make you sick — and we can explain why.

Split mayo looks ugly but won't harm you

It's easy to conjure up disgust on social media, but subduing it is a little harder. In the case of unappetizing mayo, the damage is likely caused by it being stored in conditions too cold for it to maintain its stability. This is because mayonnaise is made up of oil and (usually) vinegar — two ingredients that naturally repel each other. The addition of egg yolk (specifically the lecithin contained within) counteracts this by acting as a natural emulsifier, allowing the two to combine. But, when coldness takes over (such as in the darkest corners of a refrigerator), oil begins to solidify and the emulsifier fails, causing the oil and the vinegar to separate.


#stitch with @notyouraveragebarbiegirl how little people actually know about the food they eat daily is scary and they SWEAR they are right with the "thats how mayonnaise is made 🤓" comments #foodborneillness #fyp

♬ original sound – Kemo

Like many foodstuffs, it's pretty clear if mayo has gone bad. Standard signs to watch out for are an acidic smell, yellowing, the presence of mold, and a nasty taste, according to Does It Go Bad? The USDA advises that opened jars of mayonnaise should last for up to two months in a refrigerator.

The moral of the story seems to be this: If you see split mayonnaise on the shelf in a store, perhaps the simplest thing to do is not buy it. Don't create a social media scare.