By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen
Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributing writer for Food Network.
Yogurt is a food produced by bacterial fermentation of milk, so it can be difficult to tell if it has gone bad.To help us understand how to tell if yogurt is bad, we asked Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, award-winning nutrition expert and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Diabetes Create Your Plate Prep Recipesand Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, foodnetwork.com contributor, cookbook author and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc.
The short answer is yes, yogurt can go bad. “Yogurt is a very stable food, but it can go bad due to mold, yeast or slow-growing bacteria. If the yogurt is not refrigerated at 40 degrees or below, this kind of spoilage is likely to happen,” says Amidore . “Flavored yogurt tends to spoil faster than plain yogurt if not stored at the proper temperature due to added sugars.”
White points out that all perishable foods that require refrigeration have the potential to spoil. “According to the USDA, in the case of yogurt, the recommended shelf life is usually two weeks in the refrigerator and two months in the refrigerator,” she said. “There is no guarantee that the yogurt will be edible before or after this time, so it’s always good to check for off-flavors or discoloration, and if in doubt, throw it away.”
Amidor shares that the best practice for extending the shelf life of yogurt is to store it in the refrigerator at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Take out what you need with a clean spoon, put the lid on, and put the tub back in the freezer as soon as possible,” says Amidor. “You want to minimize the time yogurt is out of the fridge, and never put it out of the fridge.” more than two hours. White adds that the optimal temperature for storing yogurt in the refrigerator should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and yogurt should be consumed within two months of freezing.
Often, manufacturers put a shelf-life date on food to indicate when the product will maintain its optimal freshness, not to indicate spoilage. “As long as there are no signs of spoilage, such as off-flavors or mold growth, it’s generally safe to eat yogurt past its expiration date,” says Amidor. “It’s best to consume yogurt within 7 to 14 days of opening to reduce the risk of mold or yeast growth.”
If the yogurt has gone bad, there are a few things to look for that signal. Here’s what to check:
While there’s no guarantee that eating spoiled yogurt will make you sick, it’s best to avoid this risk. “Eating spoiled yogurt and dairy can cause an upset stomach and possibly nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, depending on how much you eat,” White says. “In the case of spoiled yogurt, the bad taste may deter people from consuming large quantities.”