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expired ketchup

  • r

I was about to open a new bottle of ketchup when I noticed the expiration date was Aug. 11, 2011. Is it ok to use? Thanks.

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  1. I'd use it. It's sealed (and that may be a sell by date, note a food expiration date).

    1 Reply
    1. re: nofunlatte

      Wow that was fast! Thanks so much!!!

    2. Serious question -- has anyone ever heard of ketchup going bad? Ever seen mold on it? Odd smells?

      I've thrown away many bottles that contained dried-out ketchup encrusted on the inside of the bottle...but I don't think I've ever seen it go bad...

      4 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842

        Catsup doesn't usually mold because it has vinegar in it, unlike tomato sauce which will mold.

        Catsup will ferment if left unrefrigerated and, I've read that the bottle could explode when opened creating a catsup volcano, so to speak.

        It is one reason I rarely eat bottled catsup in restaurants. Some have a policy of perpetually refilling the bottle on the table.

        Here's a lengthy study on catsup spoilage
        http://www.archive.org/stream/experim...

        I got bored before reading it all ... but they did get mold, especially arount then neck of the bottle near the cap .. and there was stuff about other organisms they found.

        1. re: rworange

          FWIW, that study dates from 1909, over a century ago. It appears it was related mostly to the safety of ketchup as a function of how it was manufactured at that time. While the natural processes of spoilage haven't changed, I suppose, manufacturing and packaging, particularly as regards food safety, surely has, so I'm not sure what it all might mean.

          In general, I believe opened ketchup can be left at room temperature for a good long while before any serious food safety issues arise. I wouldn't hesitate to eat it in a restaurant that leaves it out. At least not for food safety reasons.

          1. re: johnb

            I worked in a restaurant in the 1980s, and part of my job was to refill the ketchup bottles at the end of the night. The policy was to refill the partly empty bottles with ketchup from other partly empty bottles, but first always check to see if there were any bubbles in the ketchup, indicating fermentation. If there were bubbles, we were to throw that bottle away. I was always vigilant about this job, but I can't speak for the other workers. So while I will use ketchup that's left on the table, I will also give it a quick look to make sure there are no bubbles.

        2. re: sunshine842

          Yes, It gets a vinegary taste. You will know if its bad.

        3. I'm generally pretty cautious about food expiration dates, but I have no problem with using ketchup that's past its "sell by" or "best by" date. Sometimes the color turns a bit brown, but it tastes fine.

          1. I grew up in a time where there were no sell by's and use by's. You used your nose and taste buds. It still applies to me, the sniff and taste test. I've had meat and milk go bad before the sell by - they generally mean very little to me.

            1. Not a ketchup eater, but I generally go by the smell and taste test as well...if it looks fine, smells fine, and tastes fine, I'd eat it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jw615

                I once found a bottle that I determined was over 20 years old-in the basement of an old house I lived in.

                The contents had darkened but still smelled like ketchup-but since I don't eat the stuff the contents were disposed of down the drain and the bottle recycled.

              2. Ketchup does not expire.

                Coupons expire.

                1. ...has anyone heard from Rheta? I'm getting worried...

                  I bet if you check, it's a 'best used by' date rather than an expiration. It only means the flavors might not be the same as you'd expect from their product if absolutely fresh. Can't possibly be spoiled at this point.

                  I'd chuck it if it were mine, but that's my own weird tastebuds talking. If ketchup has been opened more than about a month and a half, it makes me gag. While I'm at it, I'll admit I can't drink the last tablespoon of beer or soda, for they make me gag too. Even the title of this thread made my stomach flip a couple times.

                  Here's something handy: http://www.organizeyourlife.org/expir...
                  Ketchup
                  Unopened: 1 year (After this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume.
                  )Opened or used: 4 to 6 months (After this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume.)

                  And just sharing this... I always wondered but always eat the pickles too fast to worry about it.
                  Pickles
                  Unopened: 18 months
                  Opened: No conclusive data. Discard if slippery or excessively soft.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mlou72

                    Thanks to everyone for your replies. Sorry to worry you mlou72!:-) I used the ketchup to top my meatloaf last night and I'm still here. Thanks again!

                    1. re: Rheta

                      Phew! ;P

                      And no wonder you had to know! Can't have meatloaf without ketchup! Might've pondered using the ketchup myself in that case.

                  2. My wife's godparents who are in their mid 90's say: "If it doesn't kill you it will make you stronger." I've seen them put 10 month old sour cream on baked potatoes. I thought it was cottage cheese. They liked it. I declined.
                    Their refrigerator is a real science experiment.
                    When we visit them I only eat snack food that I bring to their home. We take them out to eat and skip meals at home.
                    In their medicine cabinet there is a bottle of aspirin (500 size) that expired in the 90's.
                    They ares till alive and sharp as a tack.

                    1. Had a bottle that was well past it's prime, unopened, brown and the bottle was bulging...yeah, that sucker went into the bin pronto. No ketchup volcano here please.

                      General rule for most unopened products is if the container seems to be bulging more than usual, it's probably not good for consumption.

                      1. Since I always saw ketchup bottles left out on restaurant tables from morning through night, and perhaps 24/7, I always assumed it didn't need refrigeration so I always kept it in the cabinet. By the time I noticed the "refrigerate after opening" on the label, it was clear to me that it does not need it, and I still keep it at room temperature. I have bought 48 ounce bottles that take me a year to finish. No deterioration of any sort. In vinegar we trust. ;-)

                        1. It will definitely keep longer in the fridge than out. I usually use mine up well before the expiration date : ) . But if you have any doubt, just chuck it and buy another.

                          1. Slavishly adhering to the so called "expiration dates" on foods is unnecessary. They are there as a guide. It's not as if a spoil switch goes on in the container after a certain specific date.
                            The dates listed on most packaged foods generally mean very little to me.

                            Best advice is what someone earlier in the thread suggested...use your senses, and use your common sense.
                            Hell...when I buy containers of plain yogurt, I don't even _like_ to eat them until they are a month or more 'past date'. They are firmer and tangier to me, and I like that.

                            The sell by date on milk in NJ is another laugh. On some cartons, it actually specifies that in (nearby) New York, it's still okay to sell it until one week AFTER the listed date. LOL. Yet I always see folks in the supermarket freaking out if the 'date' on the milk is two days away.
                            That's an even bigger LOL.

                            1. It isn't ketchup, but I just ate mayo from a jar that was opened and 11 days past expira .... ack! cough! vomit! 911...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: FoodDabbler

                                I've eaten mayo lots past that, so this just sounds like someone trolling for a reaction.