Can You Get Sick From Eating 2-Year-Old Chocolate?

If you're a chocolate fan, you've probably found yourself with an old piece of chocolate. Maybe you found a bag of Halloween leftovers or planned to save a pricy bar for a special occasion, only to forget about it in the back of the cupboard where it sat for months or even years. Whatever the reason, you've probably found yourself faced with an aging chocolate bar wondering whether or not it's safe to eat.

Fortunately, chocolate generally has a fairly long life. USA Today explains that, while chocolate bars can go bad, it's unlikely that you'll get sick from eating last year's chocolate easter bunny. Generally, when chocolate bars expire, it's due to additives like peanut butter, dairy, or caramel.

Livestrong states that the best-by date you see on chocolate doesn't necessarily mean that the chocolate is unsafe to eat. However, chocolate that's passed its best-by date probably won't be peak quality.

Chocolate's lifespan depends on the type

While chocolate is generally relatively shelf-stable, different types have different lifespans. Lifestyle blog PureWow explains that, while you should eat homemade treats like truffles within a few weeks, other types of chocolate, like cocoa powder, can last for years. Generally, a higher dairy content means a shorter shelf life: White chocolate will only last a few months, and milk chocolate can last up to a year. Unopened bars of dark chocolate, meanwhile, should last for two years. Storing chocolate in the fridge will also help it stay fresh longer.

While you'll likely see a white film over the surface of old chocolate, there's no need to worry — it's not mold. According to HuffPost, what you're seeing is "bloom," created when fat starts to separate from the rest of the chocolate. Give it a sniff or a small taste before gorging yourself, though — if something seems off, it's possible that one of the added ingredients has gone bad. Best not to risk it.