45 large bars of out-of-date Cadbury chocolate: should I eat them?
July 15, 2017 5:58 AM   Subscribe

I woke up this morning to 45 bars, each 200 grams, of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate left on my doorstep. I'm pretty sure they have been dumpster-dived by an eccentric 80+ year old inventor (friend of housemate) from a Co-operative supermarket store a few miles away. They look okay, and are dated use by the 9th of June 2017, about five weeks ago. Housemate is currently far away, not due back, and off the grid. Good to eat?
posted by Wordshore to Food & Drink (63 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
If In wrappers?

EAT.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:00 AM on July 15 [22 favorites]


5 weeks? If it looks fine and hasn't melted (and hasn't gotten that weird white color old chocolate can get), I'd eat that so fast. I am 99.9% sure I have older chocolate in my pantry that wouldn't even cause me pause.
posted by cgg at 6:00 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Errrr...if I found these in my house (okay, obviously people, I would remember I had that much chocolate deliciousness about and they'd never go lost but you get what I mean), I'd eat them without hesitation and have a s'mores party.

But, considering they just landed on your step, add to that you have zero idea about where they've been and what could have happened to them (raccoons peeing, rats nibbling, bugs infesting, etc.) from the store to the dumpster to your door, I would chuck those out with a tear in my eye.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 6:02 AM on July 15 [15 favorites]


Oh my God yes. Chocolate is a prepper provision exactly because it is entirely useable well past the sell-by date. Eat and bake away.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:03 AM on July 15


Oh absolutely, they should be fine - with the caveat that they should be fine as long as they seem to have been well sealed against whatever was in the dumpster with them!

With chocolate, the date just means when they are "freshest", rather than indicating that they are in any way not safe to eat. Some info. for you.
posted by gudrun at 6:04 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Also am taking photographs as proof in case (a) people on here, like the cheese thing, query whether it is real or (b) it turns out to have come via a different route - I've met the probable leaver of the chocolate before and hmmm he is a "character" or (c) I expire from eating expired chocolate. Will add a photo to whatever thread Eyebrows starts tonight.
posted by Wordshore at 6:05 AM on July 15 [23 favorites]


Oh, but do consider if someone is trying to posion you before eating. Because this is suspicious delicious.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:07 AM on July 15 [12 favorites]


oh for gods sake yes if it smells ok it's fine
posted by Sebmojo at 6:09 AM on July 15


Boiling them vigorously for at least five minutes will sterilize them. Do not do this.

I would not be worried at all about eating slightly expired chocolate, but I probably wouldn't eat chocolate, expired or not, that was left mysteriously on the doorstep and may have come from a dumpster. There's just a few to many missing steps in that chain for my comfort, but at the same time the risk of any problem is vanishingly low and I am sure you are safe to eat them.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:19 AM on July 15 [26 favorites]


If it were good dark chocolate, and not Cadbury Dairy Milk (ugh), I would eat it in a second.

A good rule of thumb with stuff past its best-by date: Let A = the length of time from manufacture to the best-by date (for chocolate this is probably a year or two); let B = the length of time from the best-by date to now; if B/A is small, then it should be fine. The principle here is that things do not go bad immediately once the best-by date passes. But I wouldn't want to eat something for which B/A > 1/2 or so.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:21 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


If someone who worked at that store had brought these to me, saying that they were out of date and they were going to have to toss them, and did I want them instead...? I doubt they'd last a week in my house.

But let's be honest - you have no real idea where these actually came from or who actually gave them to you, or why. You're pretty sure, but you don't know for sure. I would toss these in the trash without a moment's hesitation.
posted by ralan at 6:27 AM on July 15 [16 favorites]


As long as they look relatively safe from, say, being tossed in the dumpster on top of a pile of squirrel poo and cleaning products, I'd go for it! (Also, if said Character is an experienced dumpster-diver, that would also help reassure me.)
posted by kalimac at 6:33 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


If the packaging looks clean, sealed and not tampered with, I would not worry. Maybe to ease your mind, ask the person first whether this is in fact something they left behind for you?
The use-by date would not worry me one bit.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:41 AM on July 15


(raccoons peeing, rats nibbling, bugs infesting, etc.)

I'm in the East Midlands of England, so no raccoons. Other animals may be problematic though; I think the cats are harmless, but I keep wondering about the badgers who dig up bones in the graveyard over the wall (it's been a long-term problem) and how hygienic or otherwise they are. Unsure if any of them would be sniffing around my back door though.

(Also, if said Character is an experienced dumpster-diver, that would also help reassure me.)

He's done this before apparently (and gave away a large stash to members of the Unification Church), though he's most well-known as the inventor of the world's first solar powered aircraft back in the 1970s. Unsure if that's helpful?

Maybe to ease your mind, ask the person first whether this is in fact something they left behind for you?

Considered that but he lives some way away and is off the grid as much as he can be (no Internet, well in the garden instead of mains water). I only see him once every three months at the most at the local eco event.
posted by Wordshore at 6:43 AM on July 15 [9 favorites]


So long as they're wrapped, not...warped or anything when you open them, then go for it.

You have interesting friends!
posted by Elly Vortex at 6:55 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


I'm with the folks who say the uncertain provenance would stop them, not the expiry date.
posted by zadcat at 6:57 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


I would probably eat these....or wait, can you freeze them until you see him? Chocolate freezes just fine.

I used to go dumpster diving and what I almost always found - especially with co-ops - was that the inedible was rarely mixed with the edible. You didn't find, like, a bag of apples that had been showered with the mopping up water, etc, and in fact you usually found that the gloopy things (old loose fruit, etc) were all together and the dry, just-past-sell-by date things were all together.

If the wrappers are dry and they're factory closed, they're likely to be fine, but if you're an anxious person, why not freeze as many as you can fit and then ask the guy later?
posted by Frowner at 6:58 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


If it looks fine and hasn't melted (and hasn't gotten that weird white color old chocolate can get), I'd eat that so fast.

Chocolate bloom is actually just the result of separation of fat or sugar from the other ingredients, usually from being exposed to slightly-too-high warmth at some point; so it's not, of itself, reason to not eat chocolate. It can appear on freshly-made chocolate which has been improperly tempered as well.

The Wikipedia article on theobromine poisoning claims that along with dogs and cats humans can also get it from consuming too much chocolate, tea, or coffee, but the citation is challenged.
posted by XMLicious at 7:02 AM on July 15 [8 favorites]


I'd probably set them aside until I could confirm where and who they'd come from, but then I'm the sort of person who can let a case of chocolate sit in my house for weeks/months without devouring it all. I'm not in the slightest bit concerned by the "expiry" date.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 7:16 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Dairy Milk? Oh hell no, it's gone shit since the buy out. Bin the stuff.

Who am I kidding? Eat them! Unless the packaging has signs of tampering.
posted by Helga-woo at 7:28 AM on July 15


the expiration date is not a problem at all. For me it would depend on the state of the wrapper. Clean, dry, factory-closed, no evidence whatsoever of any contamination after thorough smelling and examination? Probably fine I guess?

My concern would be what it might have undergone in the dumpster, not before. (Specifically I would be worried about a rat having peed on it. But, I guess a rat would have eaten it if there were a rat anywhere nearby, so if there's no evidence of wrapper disturbance, it's probably fine.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:29 AM on July 15


He's done this before apparently (and gave away a large stash to members of the Unification Church)

What are his feelings about organized religion? Is he puddin' up with them? Feeling bitter? Sweet? Even though he went to the truffle to drop them at your door, I'd kiss 'em bye bye.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 7:34 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


You could always do an edibility test. Eat a small piece, wait 8 hours, if there's no reaction, eat more pieces, if there's no reaction after another 8 hours, you're probably good to go.

Or just eat it.
posted by Helga-woo at 7:34 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Eat 'em.
posted by yomimono at 7:37 AM on July 15


I'm in the East Midlands of England

Oh. Oh no! This changes everything. I was assuming you were in the US. If you're in England, this is absolutely part of some complicated murder plot. Do not eat this chocolate and immediately call your local quirky and cantankerous Detective Inspector. You know, the one with the odd hobby or unusual car.
posted by Naberius at 7:37 AM on July 15 [114 favorites]


Do not eat this chocolate and immediately call your local quirky and cantankerous Detective Inspector. You know, the one with the odd hobby or unusual car.

You will know them also by their highly attractive new partner who may fall into open sewers but uncannily solves the crime because they're some type of savant.

Let us know what they say.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 7:41 AM on July 15 [14 favorites]


True story: when the Scharffenberger factory in Oakland, CA, went out of business in 2009, a friend of mine dumpstered a bucket full of chocolate. It was all samples, in fact: bars in pristine little plastic bags that had been stapled shut and labeled with the percentage and provenance of the cacao. Then she went back for another bucket. Then she went back with her bike and panniers. Then she went back with another friend whose car she filled with more samples. She must've ferried four hundred pounds of chocolate across the East Bay to willing friends, some of whom probably ate half their body weight in chocolate that year thanks to her. I mentioned this to someone else, a fellow dumpster diver, who said Oh that's nothing, I filled the bed of my pickup truck. Twice, and there was still more left. Anyway, Dairy Milk is not Scharffenberger's, but dumpstered chocolate is a magical gift from the gods. If you're worried about rat pee in the literal or metaphorical dumpster from whence these came, worry not: this is what wrappers are for.
posted by tapir-whorf at 7:43 AM on July 15 [30 favorites]


Some context: Cadbury Dairy Milk outside North America and the arms of Hersheys is actually very good, delicious chocolate.
posted by redlines at 7:45 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


Some context: Cadbury Dairy Milk outside North America and the arms of Hersheys is actually very good, delicious chocolate.

It used to be, then they changed the recipe and swore they hadn't.

Still better than Hershey's...
posted by Helga-woo at 7:59 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


If there is rat pee on the packaging, you'll know long before you open it. The smell is plenty strong.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:02 AM on July 15 [4 favorites]


Fine. Eat.
posted by pompomtom at 8:06 AM on July 15


Just came in to add another vote of caution: 5-weeks-expired chocolate that I myself had dumpster-dived? Eat it in a heartbeat. Mystery chocolate with same expiration date left probably by neighborhood character but you don't know for sure? Uh, no, it's back in the dumpster it goes.

I love chocolate in all forms (as one look at my non-svelte figure would tell you....) but the unknown provenance of this would make even me not eat it.
posted by easily confused at 8:07 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


You could always do an edibility test. Eat a small piece, wait 8 hours, if there's no reaction, eat more pieces, if there's no reaction after another 8 hours, you're probably good to go.

I suggest an amendment to this test:
Eat a whole bar and wait 8 hours. If there is no reaction eat another, repeat the test until you get a reaction or run out if delicious bars.
posted by FallowKing at 8:31 AM on July 15 [6 favorites]


If, hypothetically, I were going to try to kill someone with poison chocolate, I would not personally do it with an entire case of expired bars. The sheer volume of chocolate is unnecessary, and the fact that it's slightly expired might make the intended hesitant to eat it.

On the other hand, maybe they chose to do it this way because nobody would expect it.

But even if that were the case, I think I'd still go ahead and eat it just to let that narrative play out. The worst thing that could happen is that I go out as a result of a comically baroque murder plot, which is really kind of the dream, isn't it?

YMMV. Expired chocolate is fine. The rest is really a matter of preference.
posted by ernielundquist at 8:36 AM on July 15 [19 favorites]


If it's wrapped and doesn't look or smell off when unwrapped (as noted above, bloom won't kill you), just eat it. (Full movie for Canadians is here -- sorry about the geo-blocking!)

(Uncertain provenance? Well, I get that. Someone once left an unwrapped chocolate doughnut (probably from Tim Horton's) in my mailbox. I marvelled over it for a couple of days but threw it out after that. But unless you have good reason to expect that some evil genius is breaching the packaging to kill you, just open up a package and try a piece.)
posted by maudlin at 8:40 AM on July 15


In your shoes, the expiry date wouldn't bother me, and I'd deal with the concern about its provenance by inspecting each wrapper and bar carefully before consuming, just to make sure everything looked fine.

In short, fondue party at Wordshore's house!
posted by rpfields at 8:46 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


I'd eat 'em without hesitation. It's sealed choco, so why not? Worst case is, it's bloomed.

If it were good dark chocolate, and not Cadbury

But it is, and since you're in the UK... enjoy your vegetable oil chocolate!
posted by Rash at 9:36 AM on July 15


(Unwrapped chocolate doughnut, if anyone is curious.)

So did you eat the chocolate yet?
posted by maudlin at 10:00 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Well the obvious question here is do you have a wicked stepmother who dislikes you because you're the fairest of them all? If not, and if they're all sealed, I'd eat them.
posted by mulcahy at 10:20 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


enjoy your vegetable oil chocolate!

How about some music to go with it? This would fit... Cadbury Gorilla - In The Air Tonight
posted by Mister Bijou at 10:25 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


As I've just opened a new Imgur account and uploaded it, here's a picture of the chocolate that was left outside.
posted by Wordshore at 10:53 AM on July 15 [16 favorites]


If I were trying to kill you that way I'd only poison one of the bars. Throw that one out. It's the one with the microscopic hole.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 11:02 AM on July 15 [9 favorites]


Much as I miss the old foil and paper wrapping on Dairy Milk, the flow-wrapped versions are much safer to eat after having been in questionable conditions.

I have to also point out that The Co-op take waste food back to depot if it's not gone to food banks, so it's pretty unlikely it's got into any unsanitary places. And it's not been subject to a recall, so I'm saying it's definitely safe.
posted by ambrosen at 11:10 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


I have to also point out that The Co-op take waste food back to depot if it's not gone to food banks, so it's pretty unlikely it's got into any unsanitary places.

Yeah; that's one of the things that's puzzling me about this chocolate. Another is the weird pricing/mark-down on it (both are surprisingly high) which would explain why it didn't sell. Hence I'm not diving into it straight off as there's something not right here.
posted by Wordshore at 11:29 AM on July 15


Wasn't dumping the lot on some unsuspecting person's doorstep one of the suggestions offered in the cheese thread?
This could go deeper than you know.
posted by trig at 12:00 PM on July 15 [10 favorites]


Co-Op never seem to do very low whoops prices, in my experience. I reckon if the packaging looks whole and it doesn't stink of rat piss or bleach, go for it.
posted by threetwentytwo at 12:04 PM on July 15


Do not eat this chocolate and immediately call your local quirky and cantankerous Detective Inspector. You know, the one with the odd hobby or unusual car.

That said, you're probably all right if you don't live in Oxford or Cambridge. Or anywhere in Midsomer county.
posted by Fuchsoid at 1:14 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


If you don't want it, mefi mail me for my address. I would not hesitate to consume it if it's not been nibbled. Urine will be obvious.
posted by AFABulous at 1:22 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


Per the picture, those look very well sealed. I'd eat them.
posted by corb at 1:56 PM on July 15


Sorted stuff like that at a Food Bank. Lots of slightly expired stuff is good til at least 6 months past due date. Chocolate is one of those.
posted by coevals at 2:01 PM on July 15


It's the one with the microscopic hole.

I'd be slightly worried that someone had injected something into the wrappers per urban legends about Halloween candy being poisoned this way.

However, you could hold a couple of the unwrapped wrappers up in front of a bright light in a darkened room to test this.
posted by bendy at 2:23 PM on July 15


The coop often has weird things on yellow sticker. My local one frequently has large amounts of one type of chocolate. Must be something about their stock control. I still say eat it.
posted by Helga-woo at 2:44 PM on July 15


Those look like they are wrapped in foil/plastic packaging - it should be air tight. I'd warm one up (double boiler?) until the chocolatey stuff melted, then squeeze the bag to test if there are any integrity breaches (similar to a bicycle tire tyre suspected of having a leak).

Me? I'd thank the dumpster-diving solar-airplane-inventing chocolate fairy (DDSAICF), the next time I ran into them.

Regulations are good for lots of different reasons. Some are situationally non-optimal/stupid/boneheaded. DDSAICF sounds like someone who shares a similar line of thinking and ran into such an instance.

Just another "For liability/SOP/accounting/lazyness/paperwork reasons," certain things past "best use date" simply needs to be disappeared. Totally standard, totally boneheaded; it's great that there's some net positive coming out of this situation.
posted by porpoise at 6:58 PM on July 15


It's nearly the anniversary of the Red Leicester Cheese Caper.
I harbor concerns this unexpected bounty is payback for your role in that escapade.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:14 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


It is Sunday morning, I am hungry, and I have picked a bar at random.

Holding it to the light, I see no holes or tears. Smelling it, I detect no odors.

Opening it, now. It looks like chocolate. Right; here goes...
posted by Wordshore at 11:48 PM on July 15 [8 favorites]


I guess if we don't get a follow-up from the OP, we send flowers ...?
posted by GeeEmm at 1:19 AM on July 16 [4 favorites]


I myself have enjoyed unwrapped Dumpstered chocolate* with no ill effects, so I'd probably go for it, assuming it tastes any good. Did it taste good?

*This was in Vermont, where the town's artisanal chocolate maker was kind of legendary for their glorious chocolate Dumpster. I kept begging a friend who was experienced in the ways of this Dumpster to take me there. Finally, he did, but the chocolatier had gotten wise to the local punks and had padlocked it shut. A couple nights later, my friend took me back, assuring me that the Dumpster would be open this time. "But how do you know it will be?" nervous young me kept asking. We got there; still padlocked. And then my friend whipped out a hacksaw. That haul kept me in good chocolate for months. (Unwrapped.)
posted by the_blizz at 4:59 AM on July 16 [5 favorites]


the_blizz, let's be friends. Or if you're in Tucson, I'll tell you where you might be able to find trays and trays of gourmet chocolate--all unwrapped--in a dumpster in the hills above town. Or once I did. Once it was artichokes. One time Trader Joe's threw out a case of wine because one bottle had broken and there were potentially glass shards in the case. Oh the mid 2000s were a magical bounty of capitalist excess.
posted by tapir-whorf at 5:49 AM on July 16


I guess if we don't get a follow-up from the OP, we send flowers ...?

Yeah, somebody note to NOT leave an Edible Arrangement on their doorstep.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 7:14 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


Update: feeling fine several hours later, and currently rearranging the contents of the fridge.
posted by Wordshore at 7:39 AM on July 16 [27 favorites]


Oh my. Eat and be merry! And also spotty, but happy.
I think this is Cosmic Karma for your sterling work here, and you should wallow in gloopy and well deserved joy.
posted by tardigrade at 12:38 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


where do you live
are you easily murdered
do not worry
these are unrelated questions to your recent chocolate haul
posted by lalochezia at 8:33 PM on July 16 [6 favorites]


I looked through the whole thread and didn't see this, so pardon if I'm not the first to suggest this, but:

I'd eat it in a second. If you're concerned about something being on the outside, and it's well -wrapped, just wash the wrapper so that you don't accidentally cross-contaminate.

I wouldn't worry about rat pee if the wrappers are intact; if rats were around it long enough to pee on it they probably would have eaten the chocolate.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:36 PM on July 17


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