Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese. Italy. (Photo by: Eddy Buttarelli/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Can You Eat Hard Cheese After Its Expiration Date?
By Aimee Lamoureux
It's always a good idea to avoid wasting food when possible, but if the food begins to spoil, stale, or grow mold, it's definitely past salvaging. However, some items are perfectly safe to eat past their expiration date.
The dates on food labels do not always coincide with the actual spoilage of an item. Hard cheeses stay safe to eat because of their low moisture content, which prevents bacteria from spreading as quickly. For example, Parmesan and pecorino have a shelf life of up to six months, and can stay good for two months past the expiration date.
Soft cheeses with a high moisture content — such as brie, ricotta, or cottage cheese — should not be kept for more than a week in the fridge, while semi-soft and semi-firm cheeses — including Gouda, Cheddar, and Swiss — have a shelf life of several months and can be eaten for up to three weeks past expiration. When it comes to expiration dates, do your own research to prevent wasting an otherwise safe food item.