Can I eat Laughing Cow cheese after expiration date?

Quick Answers

Laughing Cow cheese is a soft, spreadable cheese that comes individually wrapped in small triangles. The expiration date printed on the package is generally conservative, and the cheese may still be safe to eat for 1-2 weeks after that date, provided it has been stored properly. However, there are some risks of eating expired dairy products including foodborne illness and food spoilage. Use your best judgment – if the cheese has changed color, consistency, or smell, it should be discarded. When in doubt, throw it out.

How Long Past its Expiration Date is Laughing Cow Cheese Still Good?

The expiration date on Laughing Cow cheese packages indicates the last day the manufacturer recommends consuming the cheese for best quality. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the cheese has gone bad or become unsafe to eat right after that date.

Like many dairy products, Laughing Cow cheese can typically be consumed safely for up to 1-2 weeks past the printed expiration date, provided it has been properly stored in the refrigerator. The key things to evaluate are the color, texture, and smell of the cheese. As long as the cheese still looks and smells normal with no signs of spoilage like mold, dryness, or off odors, it should be fine to eat.

The shelf life past the expiration date depends on several factors:

  • Storage conditions – Cheese stored constantly at 40°F or below will last longer than cheese left out at room temperature or subject to temperature fluctuations.
  • Package seal – Once opened, the cheese will deteriorate faster since oxygen can interact with the contents.
  • Product variety – Original Laughing Cow cheese wedges likely have a slightly shorter shelf life than flavored varieties or cheese spreads.

Properly stored, unopened Laughing Cow cheese can remain fresh for 1-2 weeks past the printed date, while opened packages should be used within 5-7 days. Of course, if any spoilage is observed, the cheese should be discarded regardless of the date.

How to Tell if Expired Laughing Cow Cheese is Still Good

To evaluate if expired Laughing Cow cheese is still safe and good quality, examine the product closely before consuming:

  • Check the color – Laughing Cow cheese should be off-white or pale yellow. Discoloration, dark spots, or unnatural coloring indicates spoilage.
  • Inspect the texture – The cheese should be smooth and creamy. If it’s dried out, crumbly, slimy, or has a cottage cheese-like texture, throw it away.
  • Give it a smell – There should be no sour, off odors. A strong ammonia-like smell means the protein has broken down.
  • Look for mold – Mold would appear as fuzzy spots or filaments on the cheese and is a clear sign to discard it.
  • Check the package – If the foil package has puffed up or is damaged, air could have entered and spoiled the contents.

A small amount of separation in the cream is normal, but excessive watery liquid or whey separation indicates the cheese is past its prime. When in doubt, trust your senses – if something seems off about the Laughing Cow cheese’s appearance, texture or smell, err on the side of caution and throw it away.

What Happens If You Eat Expired Laughing Cow Cheese?

Eating expired dairy products like Laughing Cow cheese comes with some risks. Here’s what could potentially happen if you eat Laughing Cow cheese after the expiration date:

  • Upset stomach – Out of date cheeses are more likely to contain higher levels of bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal distress, nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea.
  • Foodborne illness – Harmful pathogens like Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli can grow in spoiled dairy and cause foodborne disease, fever, and chills.
  • Unpleasant taste/texture – Stale Laughing Cow cheese may just not taste very good or have an unappealing mouthfeel.
  • No major harm – If the cheese was properly stored and shows no signs of spoilage, eating it shortly past its date may cause no issues at all.

The risks tend to go up the longer past the expiration date you eat the cheese. People with weakened immune systems, the very young, and the elderly should be especially cautious about consuming expired soft cheeses due to their higher susceptibility to foodborne pathogens.

Playing it Safe

When unsure about an expired food, it’s always best to play it safe and discard it. With dairy products, “when in doubt, throw it out” is smart guidance to follow. The potential stomach upset from eating spoiled Laughing Cow cheese isn’t worth the risk. However, if the cheese was properly refrigerated, kept sealed, and shows no signs of spoilage, eating it shortly past its printed date is unlikely to cause food poisoning or serious health consequences.

How to Store Laughing Cow Cheese to Maximize Freshness

To get the longest possible shelf life and use from your Laughing Cow cheese, be sure to store it correctly:

  • Keep refrigerated at 40°F or below at all times.
  • Seal the outer package tightly after opening.
  • Wrap opened cheese wedges individually in plastic wrap.
  • Wipe away any condensation or moisture inside the package.
  • Place opened pack inside a resealable plastic bag.
  • Avoid storing in the refrigerator door where the temperature fluctuates.
  • Use opened cheese within 5-7 days.

Proper refrigeration is the key to maintaining freshness and stopping harmful bacteria from growing. An unopened Laughing Cow package stored in the fridge should keep for at least a week or two past the printed expiration date before any noticeable decline in quality.

Signs Your Laughing Cow Cheese Has Gone Bad

Watch for these red flags that indicate your Laughing Cow cheese is spoiled and needs to be discarded:

  • Mold spots or fuzzy growth
  • Orange, brown, or rainbow discoloration
  • Dry texture – cheese should be smooth and creamy
  • Hard or chalky consistency
  • Excessive separating whey
  • Ammonia or sour odor
  • Slimy or rough texture
  • Darkening around the edges

Laughing Cow typically gets a white powdery look when dried out rather than moldy. But any unpleasant changes in appearance, smell, or texture mean the cheese should not be eaten.

When to Toss It

Don’t take risks with spoiled food. You should immediately discard any Laughing Cow cheese that is past the expiration date and exhibits any odd colors, smells, textures, or growths. Don’t taste test it – err on the side of caution and throw it away.

Other Soft Cheeses Similar to Laughing Cow

If you have to throw away an expired Laughing Cow product, here are some other pre-packaged soft cheese options to consider as replacements:

Brand Cheese Type Details
Boursin Garlic & herbs spreadable cheese Smooth and creamy French cheese, also comes in other flavors like chive.
Alouette Soft spreadable cheese Rich and tangy French-style cheese available in flavors like garlic & herbs.
Trader Joe’s Feta or goat cheese logs Rolled feta or chèvre cheese logs; convenient for crumbling over salads or spreading onto crackers.
Cracker Barrel Vermont cheese spread Sharp cheddar and cream cheese blend in original and other flavors.
Kaukauna Spreadable Port Wine cheese Smooth, creamy cheese blended with port wine and spices.

All of these pre-packaged soft cheese products have a similar nutritional profile and convenience factor as Laughing Cow. They provide calcium, protein, and flavor in an easy, spreadable form. The expiration dates should be monitored closely, but an unopened package should last around 2 weeks past its printed date if refrigerated.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to eat Laughing Cow cheese after the expiration date?

It can be safe to eat Laughing Cow cheese 1-2 weeks past its printed expiration date as long as it was properly stored and there are no signs of spoilage. Look for mold, off-smells, change in texture, etc. When in doubt, throw it out.

Can expired Laughing Cow cheese make you sick?

Yes, eating expired soft cheeses like Laughing Cow increases your risk of foodborne illness from bacteria like Listeria or E. coli. The longer past its expiration date, the more unsafe the cheese becomes.

How can you tell if Laughing Cow cheese has gone bad?

Signs that Laughing Cow cheese has spoiled and should be discarded include mold, sliminess, bitter/sour smell, separating whey, change in color, dry or hard texture, or an off taste. Trust your senses – if it seems bad, throw it out.

What happens if you eat bad Laughing Cow cheese?

Eating spoiled, out-of-date Laughing Cow cheese could potentially cause food poisoning symptoms like vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, and chills. The risks are higher for vulnerable groups like the elderly, infants, and pregnant women.

Can you eat Laughing Cow cheese after opening the package?

An opened Laughing Cow package will stay fresh 5-7 days past opening if refrigerated at 40°F or below. Be sure to tightly seal the package after opening. Discard any cheese that develops a sour smell or appearance.

The Bottom Line

Laughing Cow cheese will generally stay safe to eat for up to 1-2 weeks past its printed expiration date – provided you have stored it properly in the refrigerator at 40°F or below. However, there is no way to guarantee how long it will stay fresh past that date.

Always inspect the cheese closely and look for any mold, foul odors, color changes, or textural defects before eating. If there are any signs of spoilage, err on the side of caution and throw out the cheese.

When deliberately keeping and consuming foods past their expiration date, there is always an increased safety risk. Make sure to store Laughing Cow cheese properly, evaluate its condition thoroughly before eating, and avoid serving to those most vulnerable to food poisoning. And if you ever have any doubts about the safety of a food, remember – when in doubt, throw it out!

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