I have a Brie Cheese that has not been opened. It shows an expiration date that is 6 weeks ago. Is it still safe to eat?


Cheese is a durable food, and the date printed on it is more of a best-by date than an expiration date. While brie is rather soft (which is normally a problem because soft cheeses are more welcoming to bacteria), its colonisation by noble mold fills the ecological niche which would be otherwise claimed by pathogens. So, especially if you kept it in the fridge, eating it a few days or weeks after the date printed should not be a problem food safety wise.

As with most mold cheeses, you may find that it has overripened. Overripened mold cheese will have a gooey to liquid core and a somewhat funky smell. It is still safe to eat, but you must decide if the taste is still good enough for you.

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    The problem is that some/many cheese makers do not run entirely clean manufacturing systems. Even the best cheese maker have continual line contamination problems. That makes their cheese OK for about a month past best by date, after that you are taking a big chance – TFD Mar 23 '14 at 20:17
  • Given proper storage and handling, what do you think happens after the best by date that makes cheese risky? – moscafj Jan 15 at 15:49
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    @moscafj one would hope that all ecological niches are already taken by the benefficial cultures used for manufacturing, but given enough time, some other strain could "win" and multiply. I can't say if every home fridge's conditions are sufficiently close to the optimal for brie cultures to make them dominant forever. But really, what is more likely to happen is that after several weeks, it will turn into probably-not-pathogenic, but rather disgusting goo. – rumtscho Jan 15 at 16:23
  • Gooey/runny camembert/brie is totally a thing, and many people prefer it that way. Taste it before you decide it's disgusting :-) – George M Feb 20 at 1:14
  • As to not-clean manufacturing, if it's real brie it's French, and the manufacturing has been quite clean for at least a century. Better than in the US in fact. So don't take TFD's alarmist views seriously – George M Feb 20 at 1:16

Use by dates cause food (which is still edible) to be thrown away. I was brought up in the fifties. We always worked with one golden rule: 'if food looks alright and smells alright, it's fit and safe to eat. I still work off this rule today; and I have never had food poisoning.

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    Just because you have not personally had food poisoning doesn't mean your advice is safe. There are some kinds of food spoilage that isn't detectable by human senses. – Erica Jan 15 at 15:45

Yes you certainly can. Brie is a robust cheese which has no problem aging a few months. I personally ignore use by dates on all cheese products. The older the better and dont worry about a small bit of mold either, just cut it off with the rind. I find use by dates a constant source of endless amusement. What do they think people did before the common body of sense was lost in all but name.

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    "What did they do before the common body of sense was lost"? I grew up in a culture where it was not lost and if there were stringent food safety rules proposed by the government, nobody knew them, so I know the answer. What we did was endure a mild food poisoning 2-3 times a year, it was as common as having a cold. This being said, I agree that cheeses (aside from soft cheeses like ricotta) are generally edible long after the printed date, as they are designed to keep. But not when they are moldy; mold penetrates much deeper than visible, and some kinds are toxic. – rumtscho Mar 23 '14 at 20:02

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