So I looked at the tub of sunflower lecithin that I bought around July 2021 and it is clear that the color has turned from a much whiter color with hints of yellow to an salted egg yolk-like color with hints of white.

Taste-wise it now tastes normal at first, then immediately turns very sour like I've eaten some sour candy then extremely bitter shortly after.

A fresh batch of sunflower lecithin would taste slightly bitter, but it was very tolerable and no hints our sourness at all.

Odd thing is it hasn't been even 1 year since i've opened it (although not refrigerated and only at room temp) and kept in the pantry cabinet.

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Best used by date is still April of next year but it is already inedible for me. My coffee tasted so bad

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2 Answers 2


All food safety guidelines that give a time frame or similar have a second statement that can roughly be summarized as “unless you see some form of deterioration before ”, that can mean evidence of mold or fungus, but also changes in taste and texture, loss of seal in canned foods, basically everything that indicates that the food item is clearly no longer in the state it was at originally.
Then the timelines for food safety don’t apply any longer - the times are guideline assuming nothing went particularly wrong and are based on statistics. Just as reaching the end of the “safe” time slot doesn’t mean immediate or certain spoilage, there are a few cases where things go bad before that time.

If the taste has become unpalatable plus there’s a change in color, I would classify that as “probably unsafe” and certainly not usable any longer.

  • 3
    Also keep in mind that many dates on things are for the unopened product. Once you open it there should be no expectation it will last.
    – GdD
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 9:50
  • 3
    Lecithin is modified oil and will oxidize = go rancid like oil.
    – Willk
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 14:55

Your lecithine is safe to consume. It is a shelf-stable product and will not get unsafe even during long storage.

The changes you describe are due to the lecithine getting rancid. This is a quality problem, not a safety problem. In this case, it is also not covered by the "unexpected changes cancel all timelines" rule of thumb mentioned in Stephie's answer, because it is an entirely expected change.

AFAIK there is no way to prevent it from happening, although storage in the freezer should slow it down. The downside is that then you will get other quality problems due to the changes in moisture levels, and it may start clumping so badly that you can't get it to dissolve. You simply have to buy small enough amounts that you use it up before this happens.

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