You were probably cleaning your pantry or room and came across a pack of Cheetos. Is it safe to consume a bag of Cheetos? We got the answers you need right here.
Cheetos go bad and expire just like any other manufactured food. However, Cheetos are cheese-laden chips, making their shelf life shorter compared to a bag of lays or any other non-cheese chips. A packet of Cheetos with the signature air pocket can last six months in your pantry without going rancid. An open bag may last up to a week.
Cheetos bags are pumped with nitrogen, which helps them stay fresh and prevent crushing. But once the air escapes and oxygen interacts with the chips, the pack will go bad faster. When oxygen and moisture are in contact with the chips, they taste funny, and the crunchiness is lost. An open bag of Cheetos should be stored in an airtight bag or zip lock, and it can stay fresh for approximately five days.
Here is how you can detect if Cheetos are not fresh or fit for consumption:
Change in Taste
Usually, these orange curls have a distinctive sweet and spicy taste which you appreciate with every bite. If the Cheetos aren’t cheesy enough, the pack is old, spoilt, or almost going bad.
Change in Texture
The crunchiness in the chips is excellent and keeps you digging deeper into the bag. If the chips are not crunchy enough, then it is likely that the pack has:
- Come into contact with air and moisture and go soft.
- Expired, or it’s almost reaching the expiration time.
Cheetos are rich in cheese which makes molding occur quickly. Foods with dairy products attract moisture easily, increasing microbial growth and multiplication. The microbes flourish in the conditions and turn the chips black or brown. Therefore, you will notice mold patches on the chips. You shouldn’t consume them in this state and discard them immediately.
Any Cheetos lover knows the smell that comes from an opened bag. If the chips have gone bad, their dust will have a pungent scent. If you detect a different odor, it is best if you discard the pack without eating.
If you see bugs crawling out of the pack, you should discard it. Common bugs in the chips are roaches, silverfish, and rollie pollies. Unfortunately, you can’t tell how long a bug has been in the pack and what chips have been compromised. Therefore, you’ll need to get rid of the entire bag.
How Can You Tell If Your Chips Have Gone Bad?
Manufactured foods are stamped with four different types of dates. They include the following:
- Sell By: The sell-by stamp is on most foods that go bad quickly. Most applies to dairy products and meats. The date helps the seller know by what date they need to have sold the food before it goes bad.
- Made On: Made on or born on is added to mostly beer or bottled food products. The date indicates how long the product will stay fresh, which varies for different products.
- Use By: The use by is an important date to note as it indicates the estimated date when the product is suitable for consumption. If the Cheetos or other food products are past the use-by date, the probability of them being harmful to your health is high.
- Best By: Foods past the best-by date aren’t necessarily harmful. The best-by-date guides when the product might start going stale or tasting funny. The pace at which a food product will get worse after the best-by date varies, as products like bread taste awful faster than ketchup.
Can You Eat Expired Cheetos?
Yes, you can consume Cheetos past their expiry date. However, it is crucial to note that eating expired foods can result in food poisoning.
Before you decide to eat the chips, you should confirm the Cheetos are mold free crunchy and they smell and taste like a fresh pack. Cheetos can remain in good condition three months past the stamped expiration date.
Symptoms of food poisoning to look out for if you eat expired foods:
- Severe stomach cramps
- Fever and chills
How to Best Store Cheetos
Once the bag is open and the Nitrogen escapes, you’ll need to store the chips appropriately to keep them fresh. Here is how to go about it:
- First, inspect the bag for tears and cuts before you put it in the pantry.
- If you are going to store the chips in a pantry, cover the pack and store them to prevent air and moisture.
- You can roll the paper and place the chip clip, so the foil stays closed and fresh.
- You can put the Cheetos in a zip-lock bag in the fridge.
Below are answers to some of the commonly asked questions about fresh and expired Cheetos.
1. Can you freeze Cheetos?
Yes, freezing is an excellent way to store Cheetos once exposed to air and moisture. If the chips don’t regain their crunch, throw them in the oven at 1800 for ten minutes, and they are good to snack on. When consuming them, take them off the zip lock bag and let them thaw.
2. What is the best way to prevent Cheetos from going bad?
The best way to ensure your Cheetos don’t go bad is by purchasing more miniature packs instead of larger ones. A smaller bag is easy to finish once you open it instead of compromising the entire pack.
3. Will eating expired Cheetos make you sick?
That depends on the state of the pack. You can consume Cheetos 3 weeks past their expiration date, and they are safe. However, if the packet is compromised, it will result in food poisoning and present with symptoms like stomach ache, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
4. Do Cheetos bags contain Nitrogen?
Yes, most, if not all, chips have Nitrogen in the pack. The purpose of the Nitrogen is to maintain the integrity and flavor of the chips. The Cheetos will get soft and soggy if the pack is compromised and the gas escapes. The gas is harmless to the consumers and the environment as well.