Can You Eat Out of Date Mozzarella?

Sliced mozzarella

Fresh mozzarella is a wonderful Italian cheese known for its milky sweetness.

It can be enjoyed as a standalone item and pairs exceptionally with fresh basil and tomatoes. Alternatively, this cheese turns deliciously stringy and makes an excellent topping for pizzas.

You can also upgrade many recipes by adding a little mozzarella, such as risotto, arancini, or potato croquettes.

However, fresh mozzarella cheese is typically packaged in brine and comes in the shape of a ball. And if you can’t eat it all it can lead to food waste.

The shelf-life of mozzarella is much shorter than most other cheeses and it might go past its use-by date without you noticing.

This begs the question; can you eat out of date mozzarella?

Can You Eat Expired Mozzarella Cheese?

Many people say that you can eat mozzarella cheese up to one week past its expiry. However, this doesn’t mean you should, and this is a prime example of where the internet is wrong.

You should never eat out of date mozzarella cheese under any circumstances.

This is because the expiry date found on mozzarella is always a “use-by” date rather than a “best before” date.

According to the UK Food Standards Agency, use-by dates relate to food safety and are a crucial guideline to follow, compared to best before dates which relate to food quality and can be overlooked. 

Therefore, use-by dates are on all perishable food sources that can spoil, including fresh mozzarella. These expiry dates are determined by looking at samples of food under microscopes and seeing when pathogen levels exceed a “safe” amount.

As such, eating food past this point has an increased risk of giving you food poisoning, so expired mozzarella cheese is a big no-no!

Mozzarella balls in bowl

Can Bad Mozzarella Make You Sick?

Bad mozzarella can make you sick. Spoiled cheese could be carrying bacteria and other pathogens that lead to food poisoning or other foodborne illnesses.

This usually leads to unpleasant symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, and diarrhoea that will subside once the pathogens have left your body.

This is why expiry dates are important so important in regards to food safety. However, use-by dates are not the only thing you need to watch out for; food storage is just as important.

Eating mozzarella until its expiry date is only safe if storage instructions have also been followed.

Here are some guidelines to ensure your mozzarella doesn’t go bad and make you sick!

  • Keep unopened mozzarella balls in their packet in the fridge.
  • Once opened, put the mozzarella in an airtight container and fully submerge it in cold salted water. Keep this container in the fridge.
  • Discard any opened mozzarella after five days, even if it is not past its expiration date.
  • Freeze any leftover mozzarella to extend the time you have to eat it. Remove the water first and keep it in the freezer for up to 8 months.


How to Tell if Mozzarella Is Bad

There are several ways you can tell when fresh mozzarella cheese has gone bad. If you spot any of these signs, throw the cheese away and pick up a new ball from the supermarket.

It isn’t worth the risk of falling sick, plus gone-off mozzarella doesn’t taste nice at all! Below are the signs to watch for:

  • The package of unopened mozzarella will bloat if the cheese has gone bad
  • There will be visible mould on the surface of the fresh mozzarella
  • The mozzarella cheese or the liquid it has been stored in has a sour and stale smell
  • The cheese will taste off – feel free to try a little if you’re not sure whether the mozzarella has spoiled or not. A tiny amount won’t make you sick, and you’ll know pretty much instantly whether or not it needs discarding.

If you’re still not sure whether or not your mozzarella is safe to eat, we suggest throwing it away. As mentioned, eating spoiled cheese can make you sick and it simply isn’t worth the risk.