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Can You Eat Trader Joe’s Soup After Expiration Date?

Can You Eat Trader Joe's Soup After Expiration Date

Lots of people have a ton of love for soup from Trader Joe’s. It isn’t a surprise, really. It is delicious and surprisingly affordable. But, can you eat Trader Joe’s soup after the expiration date?

It depends on how the soup is packaged. If you have purchased a canned soup, then absolutely. If the soup is in a bag, then maybe. However, you will have thoroughly inspect it to make sure that it doesn’t exhibit signs of spoilage

Let’s explain. 

Is Eating Trader Joe’s Soup After the Expiration Date Safe?

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Eating canned soup should be fine after the expiration date. Canned soup can be edible for years and years after the expiration date as it is in a sealed unit.

It was sterilized in that can, and no bacteria can get in. This means that nothing funky is going to be growing in that soup can.

For other types of soup, you will have to check for signs of it being spoiled.

If you have purchased a refrigerated soup, then we probably wouldn’t go much beyond the expiration date. They have not been designed for that. In fact, the expiration date should probably be your cut-off.

If the soup is in a cardboard box, a jar, or a bag, then you should be fine beyond the expiration date. However, you will have to eye up the product before you eat it.

If something seems a little bit off from it, then it is probably not going to be worth gulping it down, particularly if the soup has meat in it.

To check the current price and availability of Trader Joe’s Soups, click here to view the selection on Amazon.

Trader Joe’s Soup Shelf Life and Food Safety

As we said, with some soups (i.e. the canned stuff), it isn’t really going to be a safety concern. The food may taste a little odd, but there is no real risk in eating a canned soup well past the expiration date.

The USDA even says that it is completely fine. If you head on YouTube right now, you will see videos of people consuming canned soup that is decades old with no issues (highly not recommended, because it won’t taste nice).

The other types of soup have a bit more risk. This is because bacteria can get into them. As you know, if bacteria starts to grow, then it could make you incredibly sick.

You have to remember that Trader Joe’s prides itself on the quality of its ingredients. Their soups will be loaded with quality meats and vegetables. They choose the freshest that there is.

When those foods go beyond the expiration date, there is always the risk that bacteria will start to grow. The taste will start to change at the same time too.

So, with the fresh soups, we recommend that you go by the expiration date listed on the product. Remember, you can always return it to Trader Joe’s thanks to their generous returns policy if you are not happy with the soup (please don’t take advantage of this service every time!)

The Dangers of Eating Expired Soup From Trader Joe’s

There shouldn’t be any danger from eating canned soup, assuming it has been kept sealed.

For boxed or soup in a jar (that you find unrefrigerated), then there shouldn’t be a massive amount of danger either.

The risk of bacteria growing in that soup becomes much bigger than in canned soup should it be consumed after the expiration date, but as long as it has been kept sealed, the issues should be minimal.

With refrigerated soups, particularly those that contain meat, there probably will be a danger. These soups are as fresh as fresh can be. They have not been loaded up with preservatives.

This means that the soup will start to degrade pretty quickly after the expiration date. This means that the same dangers that you would normally get with expired fresh food will be there e.g. mold, bacteria growth, etc.

If there is meat in there, then you could end up with serious food poisoning. This is not to say that the soups are not going to be edible as soon as the expiration date hits. You just need to be a bit more careful with it! 

How to Tell if Trader Joe’s Soup Has Gone Bad

It should be pretty standard stuff here. The same as what you would do with any sort of food that you think may be past the expiration date. This means looking at it.

  • If you notice that there is an odd smell, then don’t eat the soup.
  • If you notice that there is an odd coloring to the soup, then don’t eat it.
  • If you take a bite of the soup and it tastes odd, then stop eating it.

We don’t believe we have to say this but, if you notice mold growing on the soup then don’t eat it. You would be surprised at the number of people that would scrape it off and eat it. Very odd.

We can assure you that you will be able to tell if soup has gone bad. It is going to be obvious. You should be fine consuming most soups, even the refrigerated ones, for up to a week after expiration as long as the soup has been sealed. Once you open it up, consume it. You can’t leave it in the fridge and have later on. 

What Do the Expiration Dates on Trader Joe’s Soup Mean?

It is a rough guide to when the soup is likely to expire i.e. become inedible. However, how the soup is packaged will dictate what the expiration date means.

If the soup is shelf-stable (i.e. not refrigerated), then the expiration date is when it will start to lose its quality. The longer you leave it after the expiration, the worse the soup will taste. However, it should never be dangerous to consume.

For refrigerated soup, it is a guideline of when you should not eat it. You can stretch it a couple of days longer if you wish.

Final Thoughts

You can eat canned soup from Trader Joe’s for years after expiration, assuming it hasn’t been opened up. The same applies to most shelf-stable soups.

Refrigerated soups should be consumed by the expiration date (at most, a couple of days after).

No matter which soup you get, if it looks, smells, or tastes odd then don’t consume it. 


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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