I ask because I ate a package of Quaker instant oatmeal (maple/brown sugar) at work today, it was just kinda a single package sitting in our "snack pantry". I looked for a date and it didn't have one. But I had forgotten breakfast and decided eh it should be ok.

So I made it, and while it tasted blandish, it didn't taste bad. It didn't smell bad it smelt like normal oatmeal.

However I looked at the Instant Oatmeal package and noticed the Quaker Copyright for 2012....so did I just eat 3 year old oatmeal? or just cause the copyright 2012 mark is on there (cause I know quaker is older than that) doesn't necessarily mean it was made in 2012.

That being said can instant oats really go bad anyways?


  • Short of weevils or other obvious contamination, darn-near forever.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 9, 2015 at 23:37

1 Answer 1


A copyright date isn't a good way to determine the age of the food. It's likely that the copyright date is much older unless the design is very recent.

As far as whether it goes bad, StillTasty gives it 1 year past its date, unopened.

  • Are you saying the copyright data is older than the food? or vice versa?
    – Mercfh
    Jul 9, 2015 at 17:04
  • Copyright older than food; I edited to clarify.
    – briantist
    Jul 9, 2015 at 17:06
  • 1
    At least for Quaker, it probably is a decent estimate, actually - they change their labels fairly often, so I'd guess it's within a year or less.
    – Joe M
    Jul 9, 2015 at 22:01
  • @JoeM, perhaps, but I'd think that would apply more to the outer box (which the poster didn't have; it would have had the actual use/best by date), while the far more plain inner packages are probably updated far less frequently. Or maybe I just don't pay enough attention to them!
    – briantist
    Jul 9, 2015 at 23:02

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