Can you eat expired shredded cheese?

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

Can you eat expired shredded cheese?

Shredded cheese does not have an expiration date. Shredded cheese is marked with a best-by date. You can eat unopened shredded cheese about 1 week past the best-by date as long as it has been stored correctly in the refrigerator. 

If you freeze shredded cheese by the best-by date, it can last forever. Just take out of the freezer the portion you need, unfreeze and it is safe to use. 

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 use-by date tells the consumer that food is no longer fresh or in the same shape, 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 expired cheese?

If you are eating shredded cheese between the safe window past the best by date and it has been stored correctly, then you are safe but if it has any sign of being spoiled there is a high risk of food poisoning. 

Any sign of a change of color, change of smell, or flavor you should not eat shredded cheese even if the best-by date hasn’t passed. If there is mold, throw it away because bacteria can grow together with mold. 

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. Heat can’t kill toxins so even if you heat spoiled food, you will get a food-borne illness. 

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

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

The most common bacteria that can be found in spoiled cheese are listeria, brucella, salmonella, and e.coli. All of these bacteria can grow together with mold. 

How long does shredded cheese last?

Unopened shredded cheese lasts about one to two weeks if stored correctly and the package is not damaged. Once open, shredded cheese can last up to 5 days from the day it was open. 

If you shred your cheese at home it can last about 5 days from the day it was shredded. 

How to store shredded cheese correctly?

Shredded cheese should always be stored in a cold place. The refrigerator is the best place if you are going to use it in the next few days but if you are not going to use it for a long time, you can store it in a freezer bag so it can last longer. 

The recommendation to freeze shredded cheese is to store it in small frozen bags so you can take out only what you need and leave the rest in the freezer. Frozen cheese after 3 months can change its texture. 

Make sure the bag of shredded cheese is sealed to keep away moisture and contaminants. If shredded cheese does not come in a good package or you shred your cheese, you can put it in a good airtight container. 

If you need more information on how to freeze shredded cheese follow this link. 

Other FAQs about Cheese that you may be interested in.

Can you eat Havarti cheese when pregnant?

Can you eat halloumi when pregnant?

How to store Parmigiano Reggiano?


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


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.