Considering how long soda can sit on a shelf, you might think these dates are just a suggestion. But do they actually signal an expiration and go bad?
As it turns out, yes, soda does indeed have a shelf life. It’s not about safety, as with perishable foods, but about sipping on that soda at its peak. Over time, even unopened, the quality can fizzle out. The taste can change, and the carbonation that gives soda its signature zing can disappear.
The key to enjoying soda is to drink it before it goes flat. So, let’s look at all types of sodas and see how to make sure every sip is as satisfying as the first.
Is It Safe To Drink Expired Soda?
Soda, that sweet and bubbly staple in fridges and pantries everywhere, often comes with a “use by” or “best by” date stamped somewhere on the can or bottle.
Unopened sodas are safe to drink past the date on the label, though their optimal flavor and fizz may decline over time.
To enjoy the peak quality of carbonated drinks, consuming unopened canned sodas within 9 months past the sell-by date and plastic bottled sodas within 3-4 months is recommended.
Diet sodas containing artificial sweeteners are best enjoyed within 3 months from the production date to maintain their intended taste.
Soft drinks like Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, and fizzy drinks like ginger ale are best enjoyed before the best-by date. This date is the manufacturer’s promise of peak quality, not necessarily safety. After this date, you may notice a loss of carbonation or changes in flavor.
Opened soda loses its carbonation quickly, and after 24 hours, you’re left with a sweet, syrupy liquid that’s lost all its sparkle. If it’s been refrigerated, you might stretch it to 48 hours, but beyond that, the flavor degrades, and it just won’t be the refreshing beverage you crave.
How long does soda last? Here is a quick chart of the storage method and shelf life of your favorite beverage:
|Soda Shelf Life
|Unopened Canned Soda
|6-9 months past sell-by date
|Best kept in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
|Unopened Plastic Bottles
|3-4 months past sell-by date
|Susceptible to changes in taste due to plastic’s permeability.
|Unopened Glass Bottles
|9-12 months past sell-by date
|Glass preserves flavor and carbonation best.
|Opened Soda (Any Container)
|2-4 days when refrigerated
|Seal tightly and refrigerate to maintain carbonation.
|Diet Sodas (Any Container)
|3-4 months from production date
|Artificial sweeteners degrade faster, affecting taste.
|Regular Sodas (Any Container)
|6-9 months from production date
|Sugar extends shelf life but still check for loss of fizz.
|Specialty Carbonated Drinks
|Check manufacturer’s date
|Ingredients like natural sweeteners may affect longevity.
Why Does Soda Go Flat?
Ever wonder why your fizzy drink goes from a vivacious, bubbly personality to a flat, dull dud? It’s all about the escape artist known as carbon dioxide, or CO2 for short.
When soda is bottled or canned, CO2 is forced into the liquid under high pressure, which is why opening a new soda gives you that satisfying hiss. It’s the sound of CO2 gas making a break for it. The pressure is released once the seal is broken, and the gas begins to flee the scene.
But even unopened, CO2 can slowly seep through tiny imperfections in the container or the seal over time. That’s why an old soda can feel soft to the squeeze. The less CO2, the flatter the taste.
Temperature swings are like a dance party for CO2 molecules. They really get moving when it’s warm, speeding up their escape and leaving your soda flat faster. That’s why a chilled soda stays bubbly longer. It keeps the CO2 molecules chilled out and moving slowly.
So, keep your soda in a cool spot and drink it in a timely fashion to enjoy every last bubble.
What Happens If You Drink Expired Soda?
Have you ever cracked open a bottle of your favorite soda that tasted a bit off? It’s not just your taste buds playing tricks on you. When regular sodas go past their prime, the flavor can shift from ‘wow’ to ‘meh,’ and that punchy fizz might barely make a pop.
The decline in quality is due to the loss of carbon dioxide over time, which is what gives soda its lively sparkle. Once the seal is broken, or even as it sits unopened, the carbonation begins to escape, and the soda becomes flat.
While it’s not common, spoiled drinks can occur if the soda is contaminated or stored improperly. If a bottle of soda shows signs of bulging, discoloration, or an off odor, it’s best to err on the side of caution and toss it.
Drinking a soda that’s flat or has an altered taste won’t typically make you sick. However, if the soda somehow becomes contaminated with harmful bacteria, it could cause foodborne illness. Always inspect your soda before consumption, especially if it’s been stored for an extended period.
Can You Drink 10-Year-Old Soda?
Whoa, 10 years? That’s quite the vintage for a soda! While it’s not likely to be a health hazard if the can or bottle is still sealed and hasn’t been compromised, the experience would probably be pretty underwhelming.
After a decade, the sweeteners and flavorings could break down, making it taste more like a science experiment than a refreshing drink.
And let’s talk fizz or the lack thereof. Carbonation is a goner over such a long stretch, so expect a flat and possibly metallic taste, especially from a can.
So, can you drink it? Technically, yes. But should you? That’s a solid nope. Your taste buds and fond soda memories deserve better.