Does Protein Powder Expire and is it Safe to Use?

A few common questions about protein powder come up from time to time. The first is, “Does protein powder expire?”

It’s usually then followed by, “Is expired protein safe to use?”

The short answer to both is yes, but read below to learn why and avoid the risks involved.

How Do I Know if My Protein Expired?

Protein powder containers will have an expiration date marked on them (usually on the bottom of the tub). Depending on the brand, it will be labeled something like EXP 10/2016. This would mean your tub will expire in October of 2016.

On average, most brands will expire about a year or two after their manufacture date.

Sometimes the manufacture date is labeled on the tub as well. Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Whey labels theirs in the format MFD 10/2014, which would mean the powder was manufactured in October of 2014.

Don’t have an expiration date on your package? Don’t worry, you can still figure out if it’s expired or not by doing a few visual tests mentioned in the next section.

I Have Expired Protein, Is It Safe To Use?

Generally, most foods are safe to use a few days after their expiration dates, and protein supplements are no exception. In order to see if it’s safe to use or not, you should examine it for any of the following discrepancies:

  1. Smell – Does it smell normal, or has it developed a funky stench?
  2. Color – Is the same color as when you bought it, or has it become discolored?
  3. Consistency – Shake it around in the tub. Is it nice and smooth, or has it clumped into chunks?
  4. Taste – This is a last resort; taste a small amount. Does it taste normal or has it developed a strange flavor?

If you get negative results for any of these 4 simple tests, it’s probably no longer safe to use. Your best bet would be to discard it and buy some new protein powder. Save yourself the stomach aches; truly expired products are not worth the trouble.

Even if it does pass all of the tests, you should note the potency of the powder will probably be a lot less effective than a freshly ground powder. If you’re just looking for an extra supplement of protein for your daily intake, then this might not matter much to you, but if you’re really serious about building muscle, it’ll probably be better to get a new tub.

Storage Tips

Does whey protein go bad if not stored properly? Yes, it can. It will come in airtight locked containers to prevent moisture from entering. Since it is created to dissolve into your drinks, moisture is its biggest enemy. If any moisture gets into the container, it can cause clumping which in turn will make mixing the powder into drinks very difficult.

Prevent moisture from ruining your powder by always making sure the container is sealed tightly after every use. Also be sure to keep your containers in a cool dry place, avoiding heat exposure whenever possible.

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