Using Expired Cocoa Powder?

I have a container of Kroger cocoa powder with a sell by date of Nov. 29, 2004. The container is made of cardboard with a metal top and metal bottom. the opening is a round push in lid with a piece of silver tape over it. I took the tape off and the lid opened very easily and I noticed some rust on the top and around the circle. The cardboard box is a bit bulgy too. The cocoa itself is loose and dry. Should I use it or throw it away?


By Linda R

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December 23, 20111 found this helpful

This is just my opinion, but I think that expiration dates are mainly for the protection of the companies that manufacture products. It's like most everything else - protection from liability.

I have always smelled or tasted products that were out of date, and if they smelled fine and/or tasted fine, I used them. Products like baking soda or products that need to "perform" usually have a test that can be done to see if the product is still active, so I do that if needed. If the product still works, I use it.

The other thing to do is to just look at the product. If it looks bad, obviously get rid of it. Again, just my opinion, but I've been around since before there were expiration dates, so just use your common sense.

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December 23, 20110 found this helpful

For what its worth, be safe and throw it out!

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December 24, 20110 found this helpful

I agree about the expiration dates! They are very elastic & the stated ones are just a buy date to cover the manufacturer. Taste the cocoa to see if it's rancid - which I doubt. Even if it has dried milk in it, that can last for a good while. I would take it out of the container & put the contents into another, cleaner one.


As long as the cocoa was stored in a dry, fairly cool environment, it should be ok. I even researched storage of old medicines & found that the only people who had done any research on this longevity were the army - as they have large stockpiles & you know, if the things were stored away from moisture & such - even the meds were only slightly less potent after years of storage!

It's also true that sugar is a preservative - & as for honey - do you know that they have found crystallized honey in Egyptian tombs! (Ditto some grains that managed to sprout.) The thing you have to worry about is cans that bulge or are damaged -as that can mean bacteria build up & botulism, which can be very dangerous. Just watch out for moisture, heat & bugs!

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December 24, 20110 found this helpful

Well you could take a taste of the power and see if it tastes ok. Usually cocoa powder loses it flavor over time so it would taste bland.

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December 27, 20110 found this helpful

Check out It states it will last indifinetly if unopened.


I use that site all the time if I question how long something will last.

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