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May 2, 2014 01:05 PM

Cottage cheese spoiling well before expiration date

I just threw out half a 48 ounce container of Breakstone 2% Cottage Cheese that I bought recently @ Costco. It had soured and broken down. The expiration date on the bottom was May 20th. I called Kraft and they said the expiration date is only for unopened product and that once you open it the shelf life is about 5 days. When I buy milk and other highly perishable foods I look @ the expiration date and figure that's the earliest it will spoil, opened or not, as long as I keep it well refrigerated (always under 40F.). There is an indication on the package that states "for best quality use within 5 days of opening. I think this caveat should be declared on the date stamp. If today was May 15th I would not feel cheated but this is 18 days before the stamped expiation date. Is this product blanketed with nitrogen or some other preservative? Regardless, no more 48 ounce containers for me.

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  1. This is why I don't buy giant containers of anything perishable.

    1. How many days ago did you open it?

      2 Replies
      1. re: ohmyyum

        last weekend. I think this product must have gotten out of the cold chain @ some point. I've had opened cottage cheese last weeks.

        1. re: zackly

          Me too, I think that's odd. It usually lasts a good long while, weeks...

      2. I've had sealed cottage cheese last for quite a long time past the expiration date, but once you open it, you are working on borrowed time. Sometimes it lasts longer than others once opened. I would guess that there was something on the utensil that you used to scoop it out that caused it to break down faster.

        I find that I have better luck with dairy products (sour cream, yogurt, ricotta, cottage cheese) if I store them upside down in the fridge before and after opening. Maybe this is in my head, but I'm going to go with it because it seems to work for me.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jw615

          I agree - I suspect that there was "double dipping" involved here. Once you do that, all bets are off. Keeping the opened container in the lower rear section of the fridge helps a bit but makes it more likely you'll forget to use it because you may not notice it there.

        2. Most likely it was contaminated by an outside source, did you lick the spoon and put it in the container??

          3 Replies
            1. re: zackly

              There you go. Bacteria from your mouth on the spoon. Someone posted on CH a few years ago about touching cheese with bare fingers and, sure enough, when I started using gloves to handle cheese, it lasted much longer.

              1. re: EM23

                This is SO true - any type of contamination at all is terrible for cheese. Gloves are a great recommendation.

          1. I eat a lot of cottage cheese, but if you don't dish it out of the container with a clean spoon every time, it will go bad swiftly. Never use a spoon you've put in your mouth, or in other food for that matter.