What does oatmeal do when it expires

Can instant oatmeal really expire?

I ask because I ate a pack of Quaker instant oatmeal (maple / brown sugar) at work today, it was just a kind of single pack that was in our "snack pantry". I was looking for a date and it didn't go on a date. But I forgot breakfast and decided it should be fine.

So I did it and although it tasted bland, it didn't taste bad. It didn't smell bad, it smelled like regular oatmeal.

However, I looked at the Instant Oatmeal package and found that the Quaker copyright is for 2012. So, did I just eat 3 year old oatmeal? or just because the Copyright 2012 mark is there (because I know Quaker is older) doesn't necessarily mean it was made in 2012.

That being said, can instant oats get really bad anyway?

Many Thanks!


With no weevils or other obvious contaminants, it's damn close forever.


A copyright date is not a good way to determine the age of the food. It is likely that the copyright date is much older, unless the design is very new.

StillTasty gives it unopened 1 year after its date to see if it's going bad.


Are you saying the copyright dates are older than the food? or the other way around?


Copyright Older Than Food; I've edited to clarify.

Joe M.

For Quaker at least, it's probably a decent estimate - they change their labels quite often, so I'd guess it's within a year or less.


@JoeM maybe, but I would think this would apply more to the outer box (which the poster didn't have; it would have had actual use / best before date) while the far simpler inner packages are likely to be updated much less often. Or maybe I just don't pay enough attention to them!