Is Bread Good After The Expiration Date?

Especially if you aren't usually buying groceries for a large household, it might be tricky sometimes to use up a whole loaf of bread before the dreaded expiration date rolls around. Just because your bread has reached the date on the package, however, that doesn't necessarily mean you have to toss it, or that it's unsafe to eat. A better indicator of bread's freshness is looking at the bread itself, and not paying as much attention to the date on the packaging.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, most expiration dates on food packages aren't scientifically determined. Instead, they're usually decided by the manufacturer, and they're meant to help customers and retailers (like grocery stores) know when the product will be at its peak flavor and freshness. Since expiration dates, "best if used by" dates, and "use by" dates aren't usually tied to the product's safety, that means you can usually still eat foods like bread even if it's a day or two past the expiration date.

According to Eat This, Not That, bread can usually last five to seven days past the expiration date on the package. It's best to keep it in a cool, dry place, but even if you can't use all of it before it starts to go bad, you can move it to the freezer where it'll stay good for an extra three to six months.

How to know if your bread is still safe to eat

The biggest danger to bread is moisture. If you keep your bread in a spot that might be exposed to moisture, like a humid room, it's more likely to grow mold and go bad quickly.

As Healthline reports, your bread might still be good even after the "best by" date has passed, so you'll have to look at it yourself to decide if it's still safe to eat. If any part of the loaf has mold on it, it's safest to throw away the entire thing. If you don't see mold, but the bread doesn't smell good, that's another reason to toss it. If it passes both of those tests but tastes off when you bite into it, that's yet another sign that the loaf has gone bad.

Finally, you can also check the texture. If the bread is hard instead of soft, it might've dried out and gone stale. It's not unsafe to eat stale bread, but it also definitely doesn't make the best sandwich, so that's another reason you might want to move on to the next loaf. As long as you check the bread over to make sure it hasn't gone bad, there's no reason why you can't eat bread after its expiration date — you might even avoid wasting food that's still good.