CanIEatThis: Expired Refrigerated Tofu
May 7, 2017 1:05 PM   Subscribe

I have two, 19oz unopened packages of firm, pasteurized tofu that have been refrigerated since I bought them. They expired on April 19th: 18 days ago. (It says "EXP" before the date.) Are they safe to cook?

Is there a way to tell by appearance/smell if tofu has gone bad? Is it safe to rely on visual/smell methods? Why or why not?

Serving the final product to myself and my kids, so I'd rather not get us sick.

PLEASE do not answer with vague, personal "I ate expired tofu once and survived so you should be okay" anecdotes. Thank you.
posted by zarq to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I eat a lot of tofu. When you open it the water will smell bad and the tofu itself will be sour if it's off. I'd chuck it.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 1:07 PM on May 7, 2017 [5 favorites]

Best answer: says 5 days after the SELL-BY date is ok, so probably a no-go. I'd personally eat it if it smelled ok, but I wouldn't feed it to my kid.
posted by Huck500 at 1:28 PM on May 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Tofu that has gone off is extremely obvious. It stinks like feet. If your tofu doesn't reek and doesn't have any pink spots on it, you're fine.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:37 PM on May 7, 2017 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Sorry for an anecdote, but as someone whose entire household spent two days in agony because of bad tofu that looked, smelled, and tasted absolutely fine, but on further investigation had been opened and then refrigerated for more than two weeks, I will never again use even slightly questionable tofu. As foods go, it's unusually porous and has a large effective surface area, and it always smells slightly sour, so it's a prime candidate for going bad in ways that hard hard to detect. Tofu's cheap, and subsidizing the tofu industry isn't a terrible thing to do. I'd buy some more.
posted by eotvos at 1:51 PM on May 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I'm vegan and constantly forget to put leftovers away or keep food in my backpack for 1-2 days. I just ate spring rolls that I've been carrying around since yesterday morning. But I definitely wouldn't eat this- 18 days is a long time for los microbios to go to town on that tofu. The gas they release will make the packaging puffy and tight. Just toss it, don't bother opening it as it will stink.

Just imagine ground beef that was sitting refrigerated and uncooked for 18 days... Or chicken breasts.
posted by kittensofthenight at 2:06 PM on May 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: FWIW, from a tofu fact sheet from the Soyfoods Association of North America (my emphasis):
Freshness is key to buying high quality tofu, so check the expiration date stamped on the package. Fresh tofu smells slightly sweet.
Handle packaged tofu as you would any perishable dairy product and check the label for a “Use By Date.” Freeze tofu no more than 6 months. Japanese-type silken tofu may be aseptically packaged, allowing it to remain shelf-stable up to nine months without refrigeration. Once opened, it should be refrigerated and used within five to seven days. Tofu packaged in water should be kept refrigerated until used. Once opened, any unused tofu can be stored in the refrigerator covered in water. Change the water at least every other day. Tofu will last a week, but discard any tofu that exceeds the expiration date on the package.
I buy and enjoy a lot of tofu - sometimes it's hard to know just on appearance or even smell, in my experience. 18 days/over half a month is a very long way away from the printed date, and I'd definitely be safer than sorry and discard the packages since they weren't frozen. I'm sometimes flexible with expiration dates for some foods, but not refrigerated tofu if I can help it.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 2:59 PM on May 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Tossed! Thank you, everyone.
posted by zarq at 4:33 PM on May 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Freeze tofu no more than 6 months.

FYI in case you ever do this - it turns yellow-brown. But is still fine (and the color should mostly fade once thawed). themoreyouknow.gif
posted by solotoro at 6:59 PM on May 8, 2017

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