I keep a home temperature during the weekdays of 78 degrees Fahrenheit and 73 during the evenings and nights. I have 6 gallons of unopened Gatorade bottles stored above the kitchen shelves. Is it safe to assume they will last until the expiration dates?

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    Whenever I see Gatorade in stores it's unrefrigerated. Is there a reason you think this needs refrigeration? – Catija Sep 5 '17 at 23:16
  • Since it contains sugar, I assume that bacteria will grow in them if left in relatively warm temps. – Daniel Harris Sep 5 '17 at 23:39
  • How would the bacteria get in? – Catija Sep 5 '17 at 23:41
  • Plastic could deteriorate in higher than normal temperatures. – Daniel Harris Sep 5 '17 at 23:41
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    Usually, the rule of thumb with processed/packaged food is if it is safe/unsafe anywhere in the danger zone, it is safe/unsafe everywhere in the danger zone (maybe excepting the 4-8°C part since definitions of whether this is or is not in the zone differ regionally)... – rackandboneman Sep 6 '17 at 3:21

Firstly, Gatorade is shelf stable. The product is pasteurized, so no pathogens are present in an unopened container. That means it does not need to be refrigerated. So, unopened, in your home is fine. I imagine there are often times in the production, transportation, storage and sales phases of the product, that the ambient temperature exceeds the 78F that you suggest exists in your home. Let's say it wouldn't surprise me. Secondly, sugar presence does not necessarily mean that there are pathogens present. As a comment above suggests, pathogens would need to get inside before there is any risk of contamination. Finally, the date is not an "expiration date", meaning the product is no longer safe or usable. It is a "best by" date, meaning that PepsiCo thinks that the flavor begins to deteriorate after that date. Generally speaking, most products are good well beyond their "best by" dates.

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