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Package of extra sharp cheddar puffed out


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Hi,

 

I have a package of extra sharp cheddar in my fridge that has been sitting there a while. It's Cabot Vermont Cheddar, Seriously Sharp. It's got a use-by sell-by date of 12/14.

 

I was under the impression that cheese doesn't really go "bad," but that it can mold. The package is still sealed, and it's translucent. There doesn't appear to be any mold inside. If I open it, and there is no mold, it should be safe to eat, shouldn't it?

 

Thanks!

 

Regina

Edited by Regina3000
change "use-by" to "sell-by" (log)

Regina

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Could you describe in more detail what you mean by "puffed out?"

 

Here's some good information about cheeses and spoilage.

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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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If you haven't eaten it in the last two years, what makes you think you would have eaten it in the next two years if it didn't suddenly call your attention by puffing up? A brand new block from the store has the benefit of tasting exactly the same while also not being potentially dangerous.

PS: I am a guy.

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I mean the packaging (plastic) was not sticking to the sides of the cheese, but was puffed out away from it, as if full of air (or other gas).

 

It's been under constant refrigeration at close to 32 F for the whole time it's been in my possession. It was in the back of the cheese drawer, behind some other cheese that was a bit newer (which was fine), and I had just forgotten I had it.

 

After I posted my question, I found this:

 

"Puffy packages can be the result of gas produced by bacteria added as a starter adjunct, including Leuconostoc sp. and Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis (havarti, gouda). These bacteria are able to ferment citric acid in the cheese."

 

from https://www.cdr.wisc.edu/sites/default/files/pipelines/2004/pipeline_2004_vol16_02.pdf. Not that I know what that means.

 

I also found this:

 

"The cheese package is puffed up like a balloon, is the cheese still good?

"This occurs most often with Swiss cheese which, like all cheeses, is alive and never stops ripening. Natural gases will collect and while the aroma is likely to be strong, the cheese is perfectly edible. Taste, not smell, is the best indicator of the quality of cheese."

 

from http://www.swisslandcheese.com/cheesetipsandfacts

 

Regina

Regina

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I think he means that air got inside the package.

I would open it, smell and then taste a bit.

Then, if it looks, smells and tastes alright I'd repackage via Foodsaver.  Mine keeps cheese practically forever.

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I'd be tempted to try it. I'm not suggesting you should... but I have a feeling that I just might. Of course, a night spent trying to keep both ends of your body over the thunder bucket at the same time is a steep price to pay for a piece of cheese.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Having suffered two serious cases of food poisoning in my life, if it were my cheese, I'd toss it. I'd rather lose a few dollars in cheese than lose three days of my life feeling absolutely horrible in the process.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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An old saying:

Quote

There are two groups of people:  Those who have had food poisoning, and those who have not.

 

I'm in the Porthos camp. 

 

But, gfweb makes a good argument, too. (Where'd the devil emoticon go?)

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So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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I've had salmonella poisoning before. While camping. With pit toilets a good long walk away. Talk about not fun. However, after reading the sites I posted above, I took a chance and made a grilled cheese sandwich with a small slice of this and a piece of Havarti. It tasted fine. Lots of tartrate crystals on the surface and inside the cheese, and the cheese is very crumbly. No one else, here, likes sharp cheese, so no one else would touch it with a ten-foot pole even if it wasn't suspect.

 

I will report back on Monday (if I remember) if I'm still not sick.

 

Thanks, everyone!

 

Regina

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Regina

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When in doubt, throw it out. A new package of Cabot Vermont Seriously Sharp White Cheddar is $2.77 at Walmart. If you'd rather risk foodborne illness than spend three dollars, knock yourself out. But please don't serve it to anyone else.

 

7 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

I'd eat it, too.  I figure some cheeses are aged in caves or the equivalent for 2 years or more, so why not your fridge. 


I love an old cheese as much as the next person (I have a 3-year gouda in my fridge presently, and I'm trying to track down the special release 5-year Cabot) but aged cheeses are held whole and their exterior has been treated in ways that keeps spoilage bacteria from being able to penetrate into the part you actually consume. Once you cut into the cheese, however, all bets are off. Pre-packaged, cut cheddar isn't the sort of thing you can just age in your fridge. And if it's puffing up inside vacuum-sealed packaging... who the hell knows what's in there.

 

 

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2 hours ago, btbyrd said:

But please don't serve it to anyone else.

 

Like I said above, no one here would touch it with a ten-foot pole if I brought it home from the store this morning. The other half of this household likes mild cheese. The milder, the better. So no worries, there.

 

Other than that, I'm still ok!

Regina

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3 minutes ago, Regina3000 said:

 

Like I said above, no one here would touch it with a ten-foot pole if I brought it home from the store this morning. The other half of this household likes mild cheese. The milder, the better. So no worries, there.

 

Other than that, I'm still ok!

 

Have you developed any superpowers?

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4 minutes ago, gfweb said:

 

Have you developed any superpowers?

 

Unfortunately, no. The superpower I'd like to develop, if the puffy-package cheese gods are listening, is the ability to accomplish two things at once, in different locations.

Regina

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17 hours ago, Alex said:

Here's some good information about cheeses and spoilage.

 

Thanks for that. When I made the grilled cheese sandwich, I also ate a bit that flaked off when I sliced a bit off the hunk. It definitely tasted good. I'm encouraged.

Regina

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I have to note* that tasting good isn't a marker of safety in food. Viruses and toxins have no taste to them. What tastes bad are products of bacterial metabolism or food breakdown, which are generally innocuous though foul.

 

* required by eGullet law

Edited by gfweb (log)
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3 hours ago, btbyrd said:

When in doubt, throw it out. A new package of Cabot Vermont Seriously Sharp White Cheddar is $2.77 at Walmart. If you'd rather risk foodborne illness than spend three dollars, knock yourself out.

 

Well, this is a 2-pound chunk, which cost considerably more than the Wal-Mart size, but besides that, there are several other things that make me want to know how good it is.

 

One, I was (and remain) unable to go get more, at this point, for various reasons (which are personal to me, but nonetheless insurmountable, for the moment).

 

Two, I am actually curious as to whether the cheese is still good because in the future I might choose to buy more, when circumstances allow, and CHOOSE to keep it for an extended period of time, still wrapped, before opening it. My income is not regular (I work for myself), and I like to buy things when I am able and stock up for leaner times.

 

Three, I waste enough food, as it is (most of us do, I think), but this seemed a good candidate for using what I have, rather than just throwing it out without investigating. I would definitely not drink soured milk or eat anything that had gone moldy, or even consider eating from a can of food that had started to bulge. However, hard cheese appeared to me to be perhaps the safest thing to last a long, long time without being unsafe.

 

I do understand that I don't know what made this package puff up, but based on some research I did, it seemed reasonable enough to me to take a chance. We will see whether that chance was a bad one to take in a few days. I believe many food poisoning microbes take anywhere from 12-48 hours to do their dirty work.

Regina

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2 minutes ago, gfweb said:

I have to note* that tasting good isn't a marker of safety in food. Viruses and toxins have no taste to them. What tastes bad are products of bacterial metabolism or food breakdown, which are generally innocuous though foul.

 

* required by eGullet law

 

 

Oh, I understand that, and know that botulism, for instance, doesn't smell or taste "off." But the cheesemaker article indicating that puffed packages can be caused by bacteria starter adjuncts fermenting citric acid made me think (hope) that this was the case, and not botulism. So I took a chance. So far, so good.

Regina

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30 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

For the record, I've had the same experience with the same cheese. 

@Chris Hennes Ah, but did you eat it after it "puffed up" or dump it?

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1 hour ago, Chris Hennes said:

For the record, I've had the same experience with the same cheese. 

 

Good to know!

 

I'd also like to know whether you ate it. And how long past the sell-by date was it?

Edited by Regina3000
add question (log)

Regina

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