Can you eat cottage cheese after the expiration date?

In this article we are going to answer: can you eat cottage cheese after the expiration date, what is the expiration date, what is the best-by date, what happens if you eat cottage cheese after the best-by date, and how long does cottage cheese last, and how to store cottage cheese correctly. 

Can you eat cottage cheese after the expiration date?

Cottage cheese doesn’t have an expiration date. Cottage cheese has a best-by date and it can be eaten about 5 days after the best-by date if it is still unopened and stored at the right temperature.

Cottage cheese usually has a short life because it is a highly perishable dairy product. Once open, it can last up to 5 to 7 days if stored correctly. 

What is the expiration date?

The expiration date in the product tells the consumer the last day a product is safe to consume. The expiration date is not in all products. It is required on certain products that have a specific nutritional composition that could change after the expiration date. 

The expiration date is required in some products such as

  • Liquid diets
  • Foods sold by a pharmacist
  • Meal replacements
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Infant formula 

If a product has passed the expiration date, it should not be consumed.

What is the best-by date?

Best by date or best before date tells the consumer that food is no longer fresh or in the same shape such as texture and taste as when you bought it. It might lose some freshness, taste, aroma, or nutrients but it doesn’t mean that the product has gone bad and is no longer safe to eat. 

The safety, freshness, and taste of the products depend on how it has been stored. So, if the product has not been handled correctly, it can lose all its qualities long before the best-by date. 

What happens if you eat cottage cheese after the best-by date?

If cottage cheese is still good after the best-by date, it is usually safe to consume it but if it has been too long after the best-by date or it has been sitting open for a long time in the refrigerator, it can cause food poisoning. 

Food poisoning or also called foodborne illness is caused when you eat something that is contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Sometimes you don’t have to ingest the virus or bacteria, it is enough by eating their toxins to have symptoms of food poisoning. 

Symptoms might start within an hour of eating contaminated food. Symptoms include

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

The whole sickness caused by food poisoning can last one day to several days. Food poisoning is life-threatening to immune-suppressed patients, the elderly, pregnant women, and young children. 

The most common contaminants that can cause food poisoning by eating cheese in a bad state are

  • Campylobacter: symptoms start from 2 to 5 days
  • Clostridium perfringens: symptoms start from 8 to 16 hours
  • E.coli: symptoms start from 1 to 8 days
  • Listeria: symptoms start from 9 to 48 hours 
  • Salmonella: symptoms start from 1 to 3 days

How long does cottage cheese last?

Cottage cheese is a dairy product that is highly perishable and how long it lasts depends on how well it has been handled and stored. If it is unopened it can last in the refrigerator for about 7 to 10 days after the best-by date and in the freezer 3 months after the best-by date. 

Once open, cottage cheese can last 5 to 7 days after the best-by date and in the freezer for 2 to 3 months but the texture might change.

How to store cottage cheese correctly?

Cottage cheese should be refrigerated right after you purchase it. If you are not going to use it right away, you can store it in the refrigerator closed at a temperature below 40 F. Once open, you can keep it in the original package just make sure the lid is correctly closed to keep away moisture. 

You can freeze it in the original package or in an airtight container. Follow this link for more information on how to store your cottage cheese and prolong its shelf life. 

Other FAQs about Cottage cheese that you may be interested in.

Can cottage cheese go bad?

How long does cottage cheese last?

Conclusion

This article answered can you eat cottage cheese after the expiration date, what is the expiration date, what is the best-by date, what happens if you eat cottage cheese after the best-by date, how long does cottage cheese last, and how to store cottage cheese correctly. 

Citation

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.