Everything you need to know about out-of-date protein

Can protein powder be used after expiration date?

Yes, protein powder is safe to use after its expiry date. Since protein powder is such a dry substance there is very little risk of bacterial growth, meaning your powder is safe to consume after the best before or expiry date. This is applicable to both whey protein and casein protein.

Protein powder comes with a best before date rather than a use by date. This means it has been certified as safe to eat past the specified date. It’s only products with use by dates that you should avoid eating once the date has passed. Learn more about the differences between best before and use by here.

If the protein has been opened its recommended you consume it six to eight months after the expiry date.

How long does unopened protein powder last?

Unopened protein powder can last for years after the best before date. An unopened tub of protein powder kept in a cool, dry environment (a kitchen cupboard that isn’t above a stove, for example) can easily last up to two years past the initial best before date. The taste is unlikely to be compromised between six and 18 months after the expiration date; however, it may start to deteriorate after this timeframe. Where you notice changes in flavour, you can incorporate the powder into the food rather than consuming it as a standalone shake. In terms of safety, if the powder is stored in a cool dry place it can last for two years, sometimes longer. As explained above, the best way to assess your protein is to do a smell and taste test.

Is expired protein still effective?

Though expired protein is safe to consume, an important amino acid in the protein can start to break down over time, making it less effective.

Lysine is the amino acid found in protein powders that aids muscle building. Over time, lysine can begin to break down via a process known as the Maillard reaction. When this happens the protein may be less effective at aiding muscle building.

Deterioration in taste indicates that the Maillard reaction has taken place. This doesn’t mean it will be entirely ineffective, however, and since it is safe to eat you may still want to use it up or mix it in with newer protein powder to avoid wasting it.

How do you know if your protein powder is bad?

There are signs that indicate moisture may have got into the product, which increases the risk of bacterial growth. If you notice lots of clumps in the powder this may be the case. This doesn’t mean that the powder is absolutely unsafe to eat, but it can increase risk.

Other signs that you may not want to consume your powder include a change in colour and an unpleasant smell or taste. Since the product will still have a very low risk of causing you harm, the best way to assess your powder is to look at, smell and taste it. Use your common sense — if it the colour has changed a lot, and if it smells and tastes funny then it might be best to leave it. If you are happy with the taste then it’s fine to use.

Passed best before and short-dated protein powder for sale

Many protein powder enthusiasts look for deals on protein, as it can be expensive, and one of the best ways to save money is to purchase short-dated protein or protein that has passed its best before.

At Approved Food we often have a range of respected brand protein products available at reduced prices. Take a look at our protein range here to view our current offers.

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