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What is the sign of mozzarella being old?

It's vacuum sealed, and the cheese looks fresh. Is a month a big deal?

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Welcome to Stack Exchange, Candice. You might try the search function at the top right; highly experienced veterans in here have answered many similar questions. –  MargeGunderson Nov 21 '12 at 4:15
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@ChrisSteinbach: Is it a duplicate? This question asks about judging cheese by its "buy by" date; the other question asks about evaluating cheese on factors other than the printed date. I'd say the two questions are related, but I'm not sure they are duplicates. –  J.R. Nov 21 '12 at 9:14
    
@J.R. I guess you are right. It's not an exact duplicate. –  Chris Steinbach Nov 21 '12 at 9:28
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marked as duplicate by KatieK, TFD, kiamlaluno, Mien, Aaronut Nov 24 '12 at 1:04

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2 Answers

Mozzarella costs what, $4 tops? Weigh up that cost versus food poisoning and you have your answer. As always, if in doubt, throw it out.

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For me, I don't prescribe to the idea that food is fine right up to, but not including (or 1 day after) any "best by" / "expired" (The later being the one that days after should be taken more seriously, i.m.o) date printed on food. I am sure that companies cover themselves (against legal action) by setting very safe "best by" / "expired" dates. I have always judged food safety of packaged products by how it smells, and have never got food poisoning. Though, even given how I feel about wasted food, I hope people don't use the above as a hard-and-fast rule. –  user66001 Aug 4 '13 at 18:55
    
I agree to a certain extent, but a month past the use by date on something perishable like cheese, and a relatively cheap one like mozarella? Not worth it. –  ElendilTheTall Aug 4 '13 at 19:28
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So long as it's been kept properly (refrigerated), it should be safe to eat. But it will have a different flavor than you're likely expecting. Not much, for just a month. But cheese flavors evolve as the cheese ages. "best by" dates on cheeses are mostly about flavor changes, not spoilage.

You can abuse this to a limited extent, if you'd like. You can age cheese at home and (for example) create sharp cheddar from mild cheddar. However, the flavors evolve better in larger pieces of cheese; an 8oz piece aged for 90 days won't taste the same as a 40lb block aged for 90 days. Many cheeses also require specific temperatures for the cultures to age properly, which home environments can't control as well.

If there is mold growing on the cheese, or other "ick" factors, you likely want to toss it. Tiny bits of cheese mold can be removed from a piece and leave good cheese behind; but heavy mold growth on a small piece isn't going to be salvageable.

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+1 Scivitri - I agree totally. –  user66001 Aug 4 '13 at 18:58
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