Is this safe to eat?

I started a diet 3 years ago.

Since I’m a chocoholic :eek: , I bought a huge bar of chocolate and put it in the fridge.
The idea was that if I have constant easy access to chocolate, I won’t actually eat any. (Whereas if there’s no chocolate in the house, I’ll obsessively go out, buy some and devour it in a sitting.)

Well that worked pretty well and I’ve achieved my desired weight. :cool:

Now the chocolate bar has sat in its wrapper in the fridge for over 3 years. Is it safe to eat?

(To be honest, I might just buy a replacement bar anyway - but I would be interested to hear what Dopers think…)

I’d guess this doesn’t work for many people.

Googling suggests the answer is “Almost certainly”.

If there’s no evidence of bacterial growth or mold - both very unlikely in a fridge - you’ll be fine. It will probably be past its peak of flavor.

Chocolate, sitting out, opened, and unrefrigerated, has an extremely long shelf life. The worst that could happen to it would be going rancid, and chocolate goes rancid much more slowly than most fats, and rancid fat isn’t actually even harmful, just foul-tasting.

In a refrigerator, sealed in its original wrapping? It could last centuries, easily. The worst that could happen is that it could separate slightly, and that has almost no effect even on the flavor (it’ll just look a little funny, with white splotches).

You may find that the bar’s surface has become somewhat whitish looking and think it’s mold. But it’s most likely coco butter that has migrated to the surface of the bar. Of course if it’s “white chocolate” it should look whitish.


Thanks for those replies - so why does the manufacturer give such a short ‘use by’ date?!

They want their product purchased and consumed when it tastes its best.

A little old lady I used to know would go shopping every February 15th for Valentines Day chocolate marked down for quick sale. She would then give it out the following February. It always tasted a bit chalky/off.

Most people don’t hold on to chocolate for years. What is the benefit to the manufacturers to test their product out that far?

More likely, they want you to eat it sooner and go buy more.

Just wondering, did you mean Halloween? I don’t think of people as handing out lots of candy on Valentine’s Day

Chocolates - and flowers - are basic, core, minimum-effort Valentine’s Day gifts, surely?

As has been pointed out in other threads of this kind, the “Use by” date has little to do with product safety. Products may be safe to eat for years past this date if the packaging is intact. On the other hand, they can be a risk if say a can has been damaged. “Use by” is a conservative estimate by manufacturers of how long the product will be of good taste quality, not safety.

Bacteria can’t grow unless they have an adequate amount of water. The concentration of sugar in a chocolate bar is so high (as in table sugar, honey, and other very sweet products) that bacteria can’t grow.

I realize this, but the post said “give it out”. I certainly don’t think of “giving out” Valentine’s Day candy. I present it to someone special. I “give out” Halloween candy.

She was a crazy little old lady. She gave heart shaped boxes of chocolate to her dry cleaner, grocer, receptionists at her doctor’s office, etc.
ETA: she once went to the “old bread store” and bought cases of expired Ho-hos, ding-dongs, etc and put them in the car of a woman I knew. The woman was “big” and the old lady thought she’d appreciate the anonymous gesture.

Ah, gotcha both.

Yeah: If you eat old chocolate, and it tastes off or not-so-good, they want you to think “This tastes bad; it must be too old,” not “This tastes bad; (manufacturer) must make crappy chocolate.”

Try it and report. And if you don’t report back, we’ll consider that a definitive report.

The cocoa butter coming out is called ‘bloom’.
It won’t hurt you, but it looks bad and tastes off.

Sounds fantastic.

They want you to hurry and eat it and buy more!

Here’s a link to one article I found about food expiration and “use by” or “best by” dates. I’m sure there are others out there.