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Food Safety Experts Explain How Long Protein Powder Lasts

Protein powders can be a convenient and nutritious alternative to high-protein foods to boost meals and achieve health goals. It’s easy to incorporate enough protein into your diet by adding a scoop to smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, and more.

It’s possible to have multiple options regarding protein powders, vegan protein powders, and protein drinks. Does protein powder expire? Food safety experts tell us when to throw away protein powder and when it’s safe to use expired protein powder.

How Long Does Protein Powder Last?

It can be confusing when your protein powder contains a “best-by” date, a “use-by” date, or a “sell-by” date. Tamika Sims, PhD, senior director of food technology communications, explains that these dates aren’t strict rules regarding product safety and are noted to retailers. A “use-by” date may appear on the last label, which indicates how long the product’s quality will last. It does not mean the exact safety date, but what the company has promised for the longest time.

Do Protein Powders Expire?

What should a consumer do when protein powder expires if the labels don’t convey any safety information? Sims says you can confidently use the dates to determine when the protein powder is in its best or highest quality state. Mitzi Baum, M.S., CEO of STOP Foodborne Illness, said when it comes to expiring products, no one can tell you when it’s unsafe to eat. But if you store products correctly and use your senses to determine freshness, she says you’ll likely be fine.

Protein Powder: How To Keep It Fresh

Sims says storing protein powder correctly is essential to keeping it safe and fresh. Keep it cool and dry according to the packaging instructions. Keep protein powder in its original packaging as they’re designed to keep light out, and don’t store it on top of the fridge, or it will overheat and spoil sooner.

The Signs Of Bad Protein Powder

Sims says food that has changed in texture, color, smell, mold, or slime is likely wrong. It is common for a dry good like protein powder to clump and taste rancid because of the small amount of fat. It looks like pink yeast, bubbles in fresh juice, chunky milk, or moldy dairy. It’s normal for dry goods like oatmeal or flour to have bugs in them, Baum says, but they won’t make you sick.