So your local supplement store is having a liquidation sale on some protein powder that is within days of expiring. You ask yourself one question - Should I back-up the track and load-up on the best muscle building supplement known to man or does protein powder expire? I mean you don't want to be left with tubs and tubs of rancid protein powder that you just have to toss. The quick answer is yes, protein powder does expire, however, if sealed properly, it will typically remain viable for months and months after the stamped-on expiration date.
Now does this mean all you have to do is look at the expiration date and then whip up your favorite cookies and cream protein shake? Um...not so fast. When consuming protein powder that is close to or past the expiration date, the first thing you'll want to do is inspect the seal. If the seal is intact, you are probably going to be in good shape.
The second thing to do is to take a whiff - does your protein powder smell like protein powder or a dead cat? If you answer the latter, don't drink it. If it smells like protein powder should smell, again, this is a good sign and you are moving closer to downing some muscle-building gold.
The third step in determining if your expired protein powder has gone bad is to find the scoop and scoop some out. Is the powder still light and fluffy and free of chunks? Is the protein powder hard? Do you have to scrape it in order to fill the scoop? If so, the seal was probably broken and your protein powder has more than likely absorbed some water and hardened. This is a bad sign as moisture is the #1 culprit in your protein powder going bad. However, if your protein powder is light, fluffy, free of chunks, smells fine and the seal was intact, you can now mix up a batch and give it a taste test.
Mix your expired protein powder with some water and take a sip. Does it taste fine? Does it taste like a normal protein powder or does it taste like ass? If the taste is fine, you are in the clear and should be able to down the entire tub without worry.
So how long past the due date can I consume expired protein powder?
If your protein powder passes all the tests above, and your expired protein powder was stored in a cool, dry place, it is save to assume that anywhere from 6 to 18 months past the due date should result in protein powder that is still safe to consume. However, remember that this only pertains to un-opened protein powder. If it was open, and sat for a few months, you should toss it asap. The final consideration is whether or not you're dealing with a pure protein powder or something along the lines of a weight gainer that contains additional carbohydrates and fats as these can degrade and spoil much quicker than, say, 100% pure whey isolate.
So there you have it, permission to eat expired food.
*This post does not recommend consuming expired protein powder.