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Hershey's chocolate syrup recommends that you "refrigerate after opening", but unlike many other sauces with this recommendation (e.g. ketchup, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce etc.) chocolate syrup bottles are not sealed when sold on the shelf (i.e. there is nothing under the cap to remove before first use.

So for these other liquids I understand the argument that the bottle is sealed at the factory and once the seal is opened bacteria can enter, but the chocolate is never sealed so this argument doesn't seem to hold.

Is there any good reason (Hershey trying to protect themselves from lawsuits doesn't count) why chocolate syrup needs to be refrigerated after opening?

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I have never in my memory refrigerated Hershey's (or any other) chocolate syrup. Never had a problem, either. –  Adele C May 30 '12 at 13:36

3 Answers 3

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It is likely that prior to use there is minimal likelihood of the ingredients separating as the transport and shelf storage of the item is likely considered controlled. Once in a home kitchen, the problem is not with spoilage (there are plenty of preservatives in it), but that storage fluctuations and use may throw the emulsifiers.

Although I am inclined to dismiss the need for refrigerating it, the is likely that across a few million units, a less stable batch may make its way into a hot and then cold and hot and then cold kitchen and the contents would separate.

For big brands, a major focus is to ensure consistency among products in spite of quality or diverse ingredients; hence watery domestic beer (U.S.), Lay's potato chips, and refrigerated chocolate syrup that is harder to use than when stored at room temp.

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Chocolate syrup apparently runs at a water activity of about 0.84. That means that, like corn syrup or maple syrup, it's resistant to most bacteria and yeast, but may pick up a layer of mold on the surface. I keep the stuff in the fridge because my mom did, but that doesn't look to be critical to long shelf life. Of course, new 'chocolate syrup' formulations may not have the same low water activity as the traditional stuff.

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Its an old advertising trick, put it in the fridge and its always in your face whenever you open the door...

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I interpret this as "no, there's not a real reason - it's just for advertising" but as you can see from mfg's answer, that might not be the case. –  Jefromi Dec 4 '13 at 23:41

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