Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

As the title says, is it safe to consume flour once its past its expiry date or should it be thrown away?

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The main things that can go bad with flour, assuming it is properly stored are:

  • Rancidity
  • Insect infestation

If you don't see any insects, and it still smells good, you should feel free to use it. If it smells off or nasty—trust me, your nose will tell you—then you will want to discard it.

The actual date on the bag is only a guideline.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for that –  Divi May 5 '13 at 11:32
    
mine smells like plado, should I be worried?? –  avril Oct 31 '13 at 3:34
    
Look VERY VERY closely for the insects, they can be very small! Best to hold it still and see if anything moves. The fact that it is unlikely you will be eating it raw means a good cooking will kill bugs and so on (but you will end up eating them). Also if you do have bugs in there they are probably in ALL your flour based products and any "cupboard dust", etc so you will need a good clean. –  Recycled Steel Jan 3 at 15:59
add comment

Normally no problem. But check if there is flour worms in the flour. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Fill up a plain glass with flour.
  • Press together the flour, so you get a flat / hard surface, slightly below the rim of the glass.
  • Let the jar stand in a bright and warm spot for about 1-2 hours.

If you have flour worms, some very small larvae (less than 1 mm) will break the smooth surface of the flour, and get visible.

If you have these larvae, you should throw everything you have of flour products in your closet and wash your closet thoroughly. Otherwise, the expiration date is not all the world to care about when it comes to dry goods.

share|improve this answer
2  
While some people do consider flour worms gross, what danger do they pose? –  Mischa Arefiev May 5 '13 at 10:02
3  
They are totally harmless to your body, but they populate quite quickly. When they are old enough they pupate, and eventually they reappear as small moths, which in turn lay eggs in other open flour containers. You could put your flour in the freezer over the night, and I will guess that they are all dead in the next morning. That would possible be the best way of getting rid of them. –  Bjørn Bråthen May 5 '13 at 10:25
    
Thanks for that +1 –  Divi May 5 '13 at 11:32
    
Are flour worms the same thing as weevils - if so I virtually grew up on them. There was a permanent infestation in the flour in our pantry and mum just said they were a good source of protein. –  Nikki Jan 2 at 11:38
add comment

protected by Community Jan 2 at 11:47

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.