5 Reasons to Check Cat Food Expiration Dates

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Things to Check for in Old Cat Food

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When companies issue recalls on cat food and dog food, pet owners are understandably concerned about the safety and quality of the food they feed their four-legged family members. Whether or whether it is harmful to serve pet food past the declared expiration date is up for dispute.

The United States does not require pet food producers to print “Best By” or “expiration” dates on its packaging, but many do so to inform consumers and merchants of how long they can guarantee the promised quality of their products. The packaging strength and deterioration, along with other factors, have an impact on the “use by” dates listed on the packages for these wet and dry pet meals.

However, just because a bag of dry or canned cat food has beyond its use-by date doesn’t imply it is inherently dangerous. Instead, look out for potential food problems like diminished nutritional value, contamination, spoilage, and deteriorating preservatives. Here’s how to identify these common problems with pet food that has passed the expiration date.

Nutritional benefit

The shelf life of pet food refers to how long a manufacturer can guarantee the nutritional attributes it lists on its nutritional information label. It varies greatly depending on the brand and type of food (whether it is wet or dry).

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However, only because a food item is older does not mean that it has necessarily gone bad or substantially diminished in nutritional content. Generally speaking, you should steer clear of relying on things that are many months past their recommended “Best By” date.

Even if food hasn’t been opened, doesn’t smell bad, or displays no signs of contamination, part of its nutritional content may be lost owing to the natural breakdown of preservatives and fats. If you keep giving your pet this kind of food, it could result in serious nutritional deficiencies that are dangerous to their long-term health.


Pet food packaging is meant to prevent contamination, however certain brands are more vulnerable than others. Food can potentially be exposed to moisture, bugs, mildew, and other pathogens when it is packaged in permeable materials; the risk is particularly significant for biodegradable materials.

Always be sure to check food for pests, mildew, and other poisons that could sicken your cat before feeding it to your animals. Even before the “Best By” date, this is true, but you should watch out for warning signs like a “off” scent or discolouration to prevent giving your pet tainted food.

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Decay and fat

Since cats require fat, it is contained in pet food; nevertheless, even in dry food, fat can degrade with time. In actuality, the aroma of a food does not always denote its quality; many pet foods, especially wet cat feeds, have a very potent aroma.

However, if you are accustomed to a particular brand or type of food, you may notice that the product smells a little odd, especially if you are looking for it because it has passed the acceptable shelf life. The shelf life of canned food is only one year after production, even though it is unlikely that it will go bad after the “Best By” date.

Degradation of preservatives

Despite their intention to keep cat food fresh, preservatives occasionally lose their potency. They are consequently unable to stop microbial growth, mold growth, or degradation.

Even while some pet meals don’t include preservatives, if your brand does, you should aim to use it before the indicated shelf life has past to ensure the preservatives are still active.

Foods containing preservatives should pay special attention to the “Best By” or “Use By” dates because these are frequently used by businesses to determine the shelf life of their products.

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Real-World Importance of Package Dates

There are no federal restrictions that ban grocery stores and food markets from selling products that are past their declared “Best By” date. The majority of stores do, however, have policies requiring the disposal of these items once their designated shelf life has passed. They routinely discount overstocked items if a batch is far past its “Best By” date.

Fresh food, which is a bit of a luxury commodity and may really have an expiration date, is exempt from this restriction. However, packaged items like canned and dry pet foods don’t actually have “expiration dates” unless otherwise specified.

According to the sole federal regulation mandating this type of labeling, if a food is to be dated, the date must be accompanied with a label that is unambiguous about what that date signifies. Since that is the amount of time that most businesses can guarantee the quality of the goods they sell, they typically publish a “Best By” date; nevertheless, this is in no way a reliable means to tell whether or not the product has gone bad.

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By catfoodsite.com

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