I have an unopened package of cream cheese (store brand: Hy-Top) and the date has no year on it. It shows:

-NOV 27 135J
01:20 02P2

I don't think I've had it longer than maybe 6 months but I don't know for sure. It was at the back of a shelf in my refrigerator.

How do I find out if it is this November or last year?

1 Answer 1


You open it:

The best before date is merely a guideline, it does not mean the food will be bad after that date (there are posts on this site that expand on this). Still, after almost an extra year, the cream cheese will very likely have gone bad - and this should be immediately noticeably by an off smell or visible mold.

If you notice no deterioration, you are either before the best before date or you were quite lucky and the package kept exceptionally well.


With all food items there is always the general rule:

When in doubt, throw it out.

I would never feed "questionable" food items to others, especially children, pregnant or elderly people or anyone else with a weak imune system. (Even though I might use it myself if it appears perfectly ok to me.)

Weigh the cost of a package of cream cheese against the risk of food poisoning - and use common sense.

  • Can agree that cream cheese is one of the foodstuffs where it should be immediately very obvious if it's bad - it will smell bad (sour, fermented or musty) and generally grows black or red/orange mould. In my experience, cream cheese typically has a shelf life of a couple of months but I guess it may vary depending on preservatives used etc.
    – WhatEvil
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 12:29

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