DOES EXPIRED PROTEIN GO BAD? IS IT STILL SAFE TO USE?
Are the expiration dates on protein powders set in stone, or is it still okay to consume the product even after the date listed on the tub has passed?
Maybe you discovered an old whey protein tub laying around in the back of your closet… maybe a friend gave you some leftover powder that they no longer need… or maybe you’re looking to purchase a discounted product that is very close to its expiration date.
In any case, the cost of purchasing supplements on an ongoing basis can definitely add up over time, and the last thing you’d want to do is toss a perfectly good tub of protein powder into the trash if it was actually still fine to use.
Well, as with most bodybuilding and fitness questions, there’s no single black and white answer that will apply in every situation. So rather than giving a single definite guideline here, I’ll just go over some of the main points to consider…
“Is Expired Protein Powder Still Safe To Use?” – The Main Points To Consider
First off, before doing anything, you’ll obviously want to examine the powder firsthand to look for any obvious signs that it’s gone bad.
If it contains any clumps (due to moisture getting inside), is discolored in any way or smells/tastes slightly off, you’ll definitely want to get rid of it and purchase a new tub instead.
Assuming that the powder looks, smells and tastes fine, the next thing to consider is where it’s been stored and whether or not the tub is still sealed.
If the protein powder is still sealed and has been stored in a cool, dry environment, then it should be perfectly fine to consume for quite a long period of time past the expiration date that is listed.
6-18 months past the date will almost certainly be okay in most cases (again, as long as you’re sure that it’s been stored properly), and technically speaking it may be completely fine for several years afterwards.
However, there are no guarantees here, and whether or not you want to consume a protein powder that is 2 years or more past its listed expiration date or just purchase a new tub is up to you.
Now, if the protein powder has been opened and was already previously used around the time that it was first purchased, then we’re dealing with a different story…
In that case, there’s already been a chance for moisture and bacteria to get inside the tub and multiply, and this becomes a particular issue of concern if the protein has been sitting in a warm place for a lengthy period of time.
So, if the expired protein has already been previously opened, I would be far more cautious with it and I personally wouldn’t consume it any further than about 6 months past the expiration date.
Again though, these are just overall guidelines and it’s possible that it may still be perfectly okay. There’s no way to know for sure, however, I would much rather err on the side of caution and simply purchase a fresh tub in this situation just to be safe.
The final factor to consider is whether you’re dealing with a pure protein powder (for example, whey, casein, egg etc.) or a product that has additional carbohydrates and fats mixed in, such as a meal replacement powder or a weight gainer.
If the expired protein powder contains additional fat that has been added in, then you’ll want to be more cautious with it since the fat will eventually go rancid just like in any other food product.
So, if it’s an expired meal replacement powder or weight gainer powder that contains added fats, I wouldn’t consume it any further than a few months past the expiration date.
Keep in mind once again that the guidelines given here are just general recommendations to go by, as there’s no way to know for certain whether a particular tub of protein is safe to consume or not.
My suggestion is that if you do find an expired tub of protein powder that you aren’t sure about, examine it firsthand, take the points in this article into consideration, weigh it off against the cost of just buying a new tub, and then make the decision for yourself.
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