Can Expired Chocolate Make You Sick?

There’s nothing worse. You reach for a bar of chocolate you have been saving only to find that it’s expired. Naturally, with something as delicious as chocolate, it makes us question if we can eat it anyway. Is there any harm in doing so? Will you get sick, even? Well, if you’ve got that bar of expired chocolate in your hands right now, hold your horses, candy head. You might want to hear what I have to say first.

So, can expired chocolate make you sick? Expired chocolate may make you sick if it has gone ‘off.’ You can tell if your chocolate has gone ‘off’ by looking for signs of spoilage, such as mold growth, discoloration or if it smells bad. However, it depends on whether the chocolate has actually gone ‘off.’ Even after a piece of chocolate passes its expiration, it can still be edible so long as it hasn’t gone ‘off.’

As you can see, it’s going to come down to context here.

It also depends on the type of chocolate, where it was stored, how it was stored, and for how long.

So there are plenty of factors to consider here.

You’ll need to make that judgment call.

Nevertheless, let’s continue to explore when eating expired chocolate may and may not be a good idea!

Is It Okay To Eat Out-of-date Chocolate?

Sometimes it’s okay; sometimes, it’s not okay to eat out-of-date chocolate. You might be fine, you might have a slight stomach ache, or you might really be sick. This will all depend on how far ‘off’ the chocolate has gone.

The answer to this question varies. But it is an answer that only you can determine for yourself, standing there in that kitchen with that out-of-date chocolate in your hands.

But don’t worry. I’m going to help you make that decision.

Let’s start by making sure we’re on the same page here.

We are talking about chocolate. Not chocolate cake or tart. Chocolate! As in, chocolate candy, so like bars and buttons, etc.

Got that sorted? Good. Now onto the next thing.

Eating a piece of out-of-date chocolate will probably be okay unless there are signs of mold on the chocolate and other signs of spoilage, such as a really bad odor. 

Now, you might be wondering how you can still eat chocolate without getting sick despite it being past its expiration date. 

Well, that date is kind of a guideline from the company. They’re basically saying to eat before this date to enjoy the chocolate at its highest quality.

But they’re also suggesting that after this date, the chocolate will start to go ‘off.’ But that doesn’t mean it actually does and becomes inedible.

Chocolate doesn’t adhere to its master’s demands.

It operates on its own time, which means it goes ‘off’ when it decides to go ‘off.’

And the brilliant news is that chocolate doesn’t really go ‘off’ that often because it doesn’t contain any water ingredients.

As there aren’t any water ingredients in chocolate, it won’t contain any harmful bacteria that will make it go ‘off.’

That’s not to say that chocolate never goes off. It can.

When that happens, it’s time to refrain from eating that particular bar of chocolate, as this is when you can get sick.

But so long as the chocolate has not gone ‘off,’ it will be okay to eat after the expiration date.

How Long Can You Eat Chocolate After The Expiration Date?

How long your chocolate will still be edible after its expiration date will vary depending on what ingredients were used in making the chocolate and how you store it. Though typically, milk and white chocolate will last up to, and sometimes over, 2 years, whilst dark chocolate can last more than 3 years.

So what’s the time scale on this?

Well, as I’ve already alluded to earlier on, it’s clear that the period during which you can still eat chocolate varies by each individual bar of chocolate.

They do have that date on their packaging, but as you know, this is just a recommendation. A guideline of sorts. More of a best-before date as opposed to an expiration date.

Chocolate does last longer than that stated date, and it’s actually quite a lot longer.

Various factors will influence how long you can eat a particular chocolate after the expiration date.

These are related to how the chocolate is stored and what specific ingredients it includes.

Some chocolates, for example, will include milk powder.

This is an ingredient that goes off a lot sooner, thus meaning that the entire chocolate bar will also go out much sooner.

Ultimately, if you keep your chocolate stored properly, whether it be milk or white chocolate, then it can last over 2 years.

Dark chocolate lasts for even longer. If you store dark chocolate properly, then it can last over 3 years.

As a guideline, I would suggest you get rid of any milk or white chocolate that is over 3 years old.

For dark chocolate, if it’s older than half a decade, it’s probably time to go as well.

Although, I’m not quite sure how you’ve been able to resist eating a bar of chocolate that’s been sitting in your cupboard for over a month, let alone 3 or 5 years.

It’s all about looking for the signs that it’s gone off, which we’ll talk a bit more about in more depth soon.

Can You Get Food Poisoning From Chocolate?

You can get food poisoning from chocolate, but only in very rare cases where the chocolate has been contaminated.

For you to get food poisoning from chocolate, the chocolate would definitely have to go ‘off.’

This mainly happens prematurely when the chocolate is poorly packaged or contains water ingredients or other toppings like fruit and nuts that go ‘off’ sooner.

But chocolate isn’t really known for giving people food poisoning. That’s a crime more connected to raw meats and other high-risk foods.

However, chocolate is a fatty food. And such fatty foods can be contaminated by Salmonella, which isn’t going to be an enjoyable experience. 

What you’ll find is that high-fat chocolate is made so that they’re well protected against being contaminated by Salmonella.

The truth is that it would have to be a rare and extreme set of circumstances for chocolate to give you food poisoning. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though, so do be careful.

If the chocolate is showing the signs of spoilage that we’ve mentioned earlier, then it’s not going to be safe to eat it.

When Should You Not Eat Expired Chocolate?

You should not eat expired chocolate when it shows signs of spoilage, such as mold or a very bad odor.

So we know that chocolate can expire and go ‘off.’ There are no skeptics here at Sugar Stand. 

Chocolate, for all its wonder, fades away eventually, just like all of us.

And you yourself will be able to judge when this time has come.

Your decision will determine whether you get sick from eating chocolate or not. So no pressure.

First of all, it’s worth mentioning that chocolates will taste bad when they’ve gone ‘off’ but seeing as eating chocolate at this point can make you sick; it’s probably not worth testing it via this method. 

The best and safest way to form this judgment is to take a good look at the chocolate and also to give it a big whiff.

If there’s any sign of mold or even rot, chuck it.

If it smells really bad, chuck it.

And those are your guidelines. Simple, but to be strictly adhered to.

How To Maximize How Long Your Chocolate Lasts

You can maximize how long your chocolate lasts by storing it at the right temperature and keeping it in a sealed container.

Two key things that you need to do to give your chocolate longevity.

Let’s quickly talk about them in more depth.

Keep It At The Right Temperature

To preserve chocolate for as long as possible, you need to store it in a cool, dry, and dark place. 

If you store it somewhere where it’s warm, damp, or exposed to sunlight, then it’s going to melt or go ‘off’ much quicker. 

So the pantry will work well as long as it fits the description above.

The optimal temperature for storing chocolate is 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ensure It’s Properly Sealed

Once you’ve opened your chocolate’s original packaging, you will need to make sure it’s sealed when you store it.

This can be an air-tight container or a plastic zipper bag.

By keeping your chocolate sealed, you don’t allow air and moisture to get into the chocolate.

And as we know, chocolate that is exposed to air and moisture will go ‘off’ quicker because this is how mold develops. 


Alrighty then. You now know all the important information about expired chocolate. 

You will have realized that chocolate is a unique food in more ways than one.

Sure, it’s delicious, but it also has great longevity in it.

Chocolate will last and is safe to eat for a pretty long time. How long this is will depend on the chocolate itself but also on how you treat it.

Although we put chocolate on a pedestal, be warned! Chocolate can still go off…eventually. And when it does, you shouldn’t eat it. 

Related Questions

What happens if you eat a expired chocolate?

Nothing will likely happen if you eat an expired chocolate, assuming that it is not showing signs of spoilage.

Can you eat chocolate 5 years out of date?

You can eat chocolate 5 years out of date, but the quality may have degraded during this time. It will likely not be as satisfying or as appetizing.

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