What Happens If You Eat Expired Cheese?

Cheese and aging go hand-in-hand. It wouldn't be blue cheese without the mold, brie without the white rind, or Parmesan without the 10 months of maturation. There is, however, a big difference between properly aged cheese and cheese that has expired. While cheese is naturally stinky, and some can even last without refrigeration, eating it after its expiration date is generally a bad idea, especially because it can be hard to tell when it's actually past the point of safe consumption. 

According to Food52, some cheeses are worse to eat after the expiration date than others. If a hard cheese is sporting some mold, all you need to do is cut around it. But for soft cheese on the other hand, surface mold isn't so easy to remove, and is therefore not worth the risk. "When a food shows heavy mold growth, 'root threads' have invaded it deeply," Amanda D. Heitkamp, the Communications Coordinator for the USDA, explained to the outlet. That's a sign that the cheese is fully contaminated and should be avoided to prevent any gastrointestinal distress.

What does expired cheese taste like?

As Gourmet Cheese Detective states, cheese undergoes changes in both texture, taste, and smell as it ages, but these changes are not necessarily an indicator that the cheese has spoiled. Cheeses that are already sharp will only get sharper over time, and even a mild goat cheese can both intensify in flavor and firm up. 

Despite the fact that a cheese can look and taste differently than how it did when you first purchased it, it should never resemble something other than food. If it's emitting a toxic ammonia-like odor or is starting to smell like a barnyard, it's no longer safe to eat. The same goes for the taste. Spoiled cheese won't taste like cheese at all, and will actually cause the insides of your mouth to tingle, sometimes even burn. It's important to note that sometimes spoiled cheese will smell fine but taste bad, or vice versa, so the listed expiration date is usually the safest gauge for whether or not to toss it. Cheese is good, but it's definitely not worth getting food poisoning over.