How To Gauge The Expiration Of Fast Food Condiment Packets

If you regularly frequent fast food establishments, chances are you've built up quite the collection of extra condiment packets. Whether they are filled with original sauces or plain old ketchup, these little sachets are good to have around. However, after gathering these packets for a while, you may wonder if their contents are even good anymore. If your condiments don't have an expiration date, it can be difficult to know if they have spoiled. Luckily, there are a few ways to tell if your sauce is off.

When determining the freshness of fast food condiment packets, you will have to use your senses. Start off by inspecting the packet for any signs of damage. Rips or tears in the packaging mean the insides have been compromised, so they should be disposed of. A puffed-up packet is also a good indicator that the sauce has expired. After the initial inspection, squirt a bit of the condiment onto a plate — not your food — and check to see if it is especially watery or otherwise unappealing. If so, toss it. Finally, give the sauce a good sniff. If it smells bad, it probably is bad, and should be thrown away.

The shelf life of condiment packets

How long a condiment packet lasts after bringing it home from the restaurant depends a lot on the condiment's ingredients. For example, something like mayo that contains eggs will likely go bad much faster than soy sauce, which is mostly salt and water. Some sachets, like those filled with spices such as salt and pepper, sugar packets, and honey packets, will stay good for years so long as they remain undamaged.

When it comes to storing your condiment packets, you don't necessarily have to refrigerate them, unless you prefer your sauce chilled or the packet specifically suggests it. Aside from packets of things like jam or butter, most sauce sachets can be safely stored anywhere that is free of moisture and excessive heat, which is a combination that can turn any food bad.

There's no question that having an extra condiment packet or two (or 20) can come in handy. They're great for meals on-the-go, and emergency situations when you realize you're out of ketchup after making a fresh batch of french fries. Sauce packets only lose their usefulness once they go bad, so look out for signs of spoilage to avoid that tragic scenario.