By Carrie Havranek
Greek yogurt. It’s just so versatile. We love to eat it with fruit and a little bit of granola, and a swirl of honey. We love it as dip. It can work well as a marinade, or a base for a dressing. It is a staple in so many of our fridges. But let’s be honest: Sometimes it gets lost in the fridge after we open it. And sometimes, when we do uncover it, while rummaging for other things, we open it up and wonder, is this Greek yogurt safe to eat?
Maybe it looks and smells a-okay, but the sell-by date has passed. Or maybe there’s some pinkish or black mold growing around the rim. It’s so tempting to just scrape it off and use it anyway because we don’t want to waste food, right? (Or we’ve got a recipe we need it for ASAP!)
We asked Amanda A. Kostro Miller, a registered dietitian and nutrition advisor, to weigh in. Here’s what she had to say.
How Long Is Greek Yogurt Safe to Eat?
A good rule of thumb is 2 weeks, according to Kostro Miller. And that’s the outer limit. “Regardless if there’s no mold that you can see or smell, consume Greek yogurt within 1 to 2 weeks of opening it,” she advises.
And if there are signs of spoilage? Maybe those pink and black spots of mold that tend to gather around the lid and the sides of the container? If you see those, she says, it’s a goner. That’s because yogurt is a soft food, which makes it “easier for mold to penetrate to other parts of the container.” (Conversely, this is why generally speaking, you can cut a piece of mold off a hunk of hard cheddar or Parm and still use it; it’s less likely that the mold has found its way to parts unknown in the cheese because it’s much harder.)
But what about if the greek yogurt in question is, say, nonfat vs. low-fat vs. whole milk. Does one spoil faster than another? Again, Kostro Miller’s answer is clear: “There’s inconclusive evidence to show that the fat content (or lack thereof) in dairy makes it last longer,” she says. “Always base your timing on the stated dates on the label” and when you opened it.
Still have questions? “When in doubt, throw it out,” Kostro Miller says. “This is especially important for at-risk or immunocompromised populations. It’s not worth the risk of food poisoning.”