Is Cheese Safe To Eat Past The Expiration Date?
It is completely safe to eat cheese past its expiration date – if refrigerated or frozen properly, it can last past its expiration date. Furthermore, if there is mold growing on some part of it, you can just cut out that part and consume the rest without worrying about it having any adverse effects on you.
If the shelf life printed on the box of cheese has passed, use the following tests to see whether or not your cheese is still useable, or should be sent packing. Cheese past the expiration date is generally fine to eat as long as the mold has been removed and the cheese is still smells good. Even if a small amount of mold has grown, eating expired cheese is still probably safe if you remove mold and the cheese still smells good.
A small amount of mold may be able to be cut away, but if there is a large amount on the surface, or mold has gone into the cheese, then you are safer discarding it. It is also possible to tell the difference between fresh cheese and aged cheese by looking at the mold. The development of mold on the cheeses surface is normal, and it should not be discarded. As is the case with ultra-hard cheeses, you can certainly trim off molds and still enjoy a cheese, provided that they are not fully covered– Freier means that molds are totally natural. In fact, even if cheese has developed mold, that does not necessarily mean that you are going to get sick, because the human gut has been designed to handle a lot of naturally occurring mold.
It is entirely possible that how cheese is made and aged may convince you it is a product which does not degrade once past the shelf life. To figure out if cheese is safe to eat once it has passed its expiration date, it is important to evaluate the method by which these are determined. Semi-hard or semi-soft cheeses may be consumed up to two to four weeks after they pass their expiration date.
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Brie, cream cheese, ricotta, and other soft cheeses will last just days after you have opened the Brie. Semi-hard cheeses, such as Cheddar and Swiss, may last for two months after the suggested expiration date, while harder cheeses, such as Parmesan, last for four. While eating soft cheeses such as Camembert after the best-by date is asking for trouble, hard cheeses like Cheddar and Parmesan can be eaten after the best-by date.
|Type of Cheese
|Shelf Life (refrigerated 32-34°F)
|Brie, cream cheese
|Cheddar and Swiss cheese
Hard cheeses, if they are not opened, are more often than not perfectly fine a month or two after their date on the label. Hard Cheeses When stored correctly in a refrigerator, one unopened package may be good for between two to four months. Once opened, hard cheeses keep their best qualities for one to two months, provided they are stored correctly. Once opened, hard cheeses such as Cheddar and Swiss cheeses will keep fresh for three or four weeks in the refrigerator, whereas softer varieties such as cottage cheese, Brie, and Bel Paese last for around one or two weeks.
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Hard cheeses can and will get some mold over time (especially if they are not wrapped and stored correctly), and the above colors are what you want to look for. Cheeses that will always have mold, whether it is just before or just after their expiration datesPackage-related Cheeses that always have mold are bloomy-rind cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert. Keep in mind, strong-flavored cheeses always smell strongly, and their flavors will increase the longer they are aged/ripened and living in your refrigerator. If you are planning on using brie in a recipe, be sure your establishment is buying fresh, so that you do not end up with the awkwardness of opening up that bag like new, preserving the mild cheese, only to discover it is developed mold.
You can still eat the food after this date, but determine whether or not it is spoilt by smell or taste. Use your best judgment and your gut feeling when making a decision about whether or not to save or throw out a cheese past the date listed. Cheeses are generally not given a use-by date, except for certain fresh cheeses like Ricotta and Bocconcinni, which then, technically, should not be consumed after this date. Often, expiration dates are guidelines, rather than strict rules, and generally refer to the quality, not the actual safety, of a product.
Best Before dates are far less strict, as they are outlining the quality of the food and not safety. Some types of shelf life dates – whether denoted as Used By, Sold By, or Best By – are meant only to be guidelines and not really indicative of the foods safety. Depending on the brand, a dates on a cheese package may indicate a use-by date to ensure best taste, or a shelf-life date, but it should not necessarily prevent you from eating that cheese. Remember, cheese, as well as many other dairy products, typically has either a “sell-by” date or a “best-by” date, which is just the latest date that a producer will guarantee a products quality, not its safety.
Yes — Unopened cheddar cheese typically remains safe for about 6 months, even after the shelf life date or best by date on the package has expired. Even cream cheese that has been sitting on a shelf for two or three weeks past the best-by date is usually fine. In general, solid, semi-solid, or processed cheeses last only as long as they are mixed with a fast-expiring, solid component.
You can help your cheese stay fresh longer by keeping it refrigerated at 40F or lower right after every use. For longer-term options, except for Parmesan blocks, again, you can freeze your hard cheeses for several months, while still preserving their flavor, as long as you use freezer-safe containers with no oxygen. If shredded cheese is close to it is best-by date, and you do not plan on using it anytime soon, just throw it into the freezer. Pre-shredded or grated parmesan, though (and no, not the kind from a can) can last far longer without risk, since aged cheese is so dry to begin with.
How long does cheese last in the fridge?
Cheese can be kept in the refrigerator for about 5-7 days after it has opened. Cottage cheese, like other types of cheese, can be frozen to extend its shelf life and assist it for a longer period. You can store unopened cottage cheese in the freezer for 3-6 months.
How can you tell if cheese is spoiled?
Look for telltale signs like a particularly slimy surface, black, cracked, and dry patches in hard cheeses, or yellow spots on blue cheeses (one must keep in mind that accidental mold doesn’t necessarily indicate the wheel is ruined). Bloated packaging is another sign that the cheese is still in its original packaging.
Is it OK to eat expired cheese if it’s not moldy?
It’s crucial to remember that occasionally, ruined cheese will smell OK but taste horrible, or vice versa. For this reason, the declared expiration date is typically the best indicator of whether or not to discard it. Although cheese is tasty, getting food illness is absolutely not worth it.