"This expired milk is a important plot point! On a show about ninjas! *drinks* "Man, that's GOOD food poisoning!"A comedy trope, in which a character buys, sells, or consumes food products that expired a comically long time ago, years, decades, or even centuries in the past. It may have come from the fridge. For the horrible consequences that usually follow, see The Food Poisoning Incident. Contrast Indestructible Edible and Inexplicably Preserved Dungeon Meat.
— Naruto Uzumaki, Naruto: The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show
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- Drinking expired milk is among the things DirecTV says is favorably comparable to having cable TV in one of their commercials.
Anime and Manga
- In one Lupin III (Red Jacket) episode, Lupin steals a two-century-old bottle of rare French wine that was laid down by Napoleon, and was to be given as a gift to the President of the United States, swapping it out with a cheap bottle of store bought wine. After a successful heist, Lupin watches the president drinking the cheap wine and calling it "remarkable" on TV. The gang then laugh to themselves, and try a glass of the real wine... but find that it hadn't been aged properly and turned to vinegar.
- Naruto: In an early episode/chapter, Naruto finds himself running for the toilet constantly throughout the entire episode, usually leading to comical hijinks. At the end of the episode, his teacher discovers that the milk he drank that morning had expired a long time ago.
- A recurring gag in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days is that the Elixirs that the Moogle sells to Roxas happen to be expired.
- Cowboy Bebop:
- A box of emergency rations in expired a year before the episode they appear in, "Mushroom Samba", where they give Faye a case of the trots because she ate the entire crate.
- The episode "Toys in the Attic" is what happens when lobster is left in the fridge too long. It becomes a sentient case of food poisoning that nearly kills the entire crew.
- In a Garfield strip, Jon claims that he looked danger right in the face and laughed. Garfield then lets the readers know that Jon drank milk that was past the expiration date.
- In a Knights of the Dinner Table story, the group is eating Hackmaster-themed snack packs that B.A. picked up to thematically represent their characters eating field rations in game. They eventually discover that the snack packs were made in the early '80s. When Sara expresses her disgust that the guys keep eating them, Brian says that they are so full of preservatives that it doesn't matter.
- Zits: In a 2013 strip Jeremy finds a box of chocolate wafers at the back of the freezer with an expiration date of 2009. He eats them anyway.
- From Down Periscope:
Pascal: Goddammit, Buckman, this tin's been here since Korea!
Buckman: What's the matter, sir? It still tastes like creamed corn...
Pascal: Except, it's DEVILED HAM!
- The sub itself is an old World War II rustbucket that everyone expects to have one dive left in her, a very fast one to the bottom of the Atlantic. And yet, she succeeds.
- The Odd Couple gave us this scene. It's poker night in Oscar's apartment, cigar smoke fills the air:
Oscar Madison: I'm in for a quarter.
Murray: Aren't you going to look at your cards first?
Oscar: What for? I'm gonna bluff anyway. Who gets a Pepsi?
Murray: I get a Pepsi.
Oscar: My friend Murray the policeman gets a warm Pepsi.
Roy: You still didn't fix the refrigerator. It's been two weeks now — no wonder it stinks in here.
Oscar: Temper, temper. If I wanted nagging, I'd go back with my wife. I'm out. Who wants food?
Murray: What do you got?
Oscar: (checks plate of pre-made sandwiches) I got, uh, brown sandwiches and, uh, green sandwiches. Which one do you want?
Murray: What's the green?
Oscar: It's either very new cheese or very old meat.
Murray: I'll take the brown.
- Very little food in Frank Drebin's kitchen remains fit for human consumption. His attempt to pour a glass of milk nets him a tumbler filled with huge white chunks, and Jane finds a Chinese takeout container from a restaurant that had closed down years before. Frank still opens it up and takes a whiff.
- In the opening of The Simpsons Movie, Apu is seen doctoring the expiration date of a milk carton, turning the 3 in 2003 into an 8.
- In So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Arthur returns to his home after years in space, and eats "the three least green furry things" in the fridge for breakfast.
- One of the bad endings in Twistaplot #12: Journey to Vernico 5 is the result of eating a package of Choco-Raspberry Lunch Meat that's two years out of date.
- Most of the foodstuffs sold by Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler and his international counterparts in the Discworld novels probably qualify, but the most explicit is the "live" yoghurt sold by Cut-Me-Hand-Off Dhblah in Small Gods, which is so alive he needs to hit it with a spoon to stop it escaping. He also sells past-the-sell-by dates. Inverted by Disembowel-Meself-Honourably Dibhala in Interesting Times, whose disgruntled customers complain that his thousand-year eggs are fresh.
Live Action TV
- In one episode, Kramer eats an ancient hot dog from the concession stand of a really old movie theater, to which the cashier responds "Are you out of your mind? That hot dog's been here since the silent era, you'd have to be insane to eat it." Predictably, Kramer becomes rather ill after tasting it.
- After developing a craving for eating cake in the afternoon, Elaine consumes a leftover wedding cake ... from the wedding of King Edward VIII ... that's worth $29,000 ... and over 60 years old.
Peterman: Elaine, I have a question for you. Is the item still with you?
Elaine: Umm, as far as I know.
Peterman: Do you know what happens to a butter-based frosting after six decades in a poorly ventilated English basement?
Elaine: Uhh, I guess I hadn't...
Peterman: Well, I have a feeling what you are about to go through is punishment enough.
- In series 3 episode 33 of Bar Rescue, the strawberry margarita mix was over a year old.
- On NewsRadio, Bill buys stale sandwiches from an old sandwich vending machine, on purpose. He likes them because they remind him of his childhood.
- On Carter Country, the group is accidentally locked in a bank vault overnight. The mayor pulls out his Safe Deposit Box, where he has stored a bottle of wine for many, many years. After taking a sip he says, "[Vintage year]. A fine year for vinegar."
- In the short-lived 1997 ABC comedy Teen Angel, Marty dies and becomes the title character after eating a six-month-old hamburger found under his friend Steve's bed.
- A frequent topic of complaining on M*A*S*H is the food, some of which (it is claimed) came from WWII or even WWI.
- Corner Gas: Hank and Brent find a "Dingle Puff" with an expiry date in 1973. Oscar plays a prank on them by making them think he ate it.
- Hal from Malcolm in the Middle makes the mistake of eating canned food donated to the family and requires a trip to the ER when Lois checks the can and discovers the "olives" he was eating were actually peaches.
- In Salute Your Shorts, Dr. Kahn announces over the speaker that there was a shipment error for their food, and advices the campers to disregard any milk containers dated for 1983 (bear in mind the show aired in the early 90s).
- The characters of The Grossery Gang are so past their expiration date that they have gained sentience.
- All Pre-War Food in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas is this, since it's aged more than 200 years. No horrible consequences, however, because it was hyper-processed crap made of artificial preservatives, sterilized by intense radiation. Unless you count consuming trace amounts of radioactive isotopes to be horrible consequences.
- In the Castlevania: Chronicles of Sorrow duology, it's possible to find spoiled milk as a dropped item. It "expired three years ago". Drinking it normally will do a flat 33% of your max health, more at lower levels, but equipping a soul (Flesh Golem in Aria, Ghoul in Dawn) will make it palatable, turning it into one of the best healing items in the game.
- In Nancy Drew Danger on Deception Island, Katie Firestone has some mayonnaise that expired in 1994 (to put this into perspective, the game was released in 2003). If you eat it or feed it—or give it to someone else—you/they get food poisoning and the game ends.
- Invoked in Day of the Tentacle. In order to get the vinegar needed for an invention, you must send a bottle of wine to the past and put it in a time capsule. Crack the capsule open in the future and you'll find it's turned to vinegar.
- Tim Buckley's Ctrl+Alt+Del comic from 4 February 2003 has Ethan consuming breakfast cereal that expired in May 1985. Lucas hypothesizes that consuming mold-culture cereal has made Ethan more delusional and sociopathic than usual.
- In Freefall, Sam loves past expiration date food. His being a scavenger race probably causes this.
- According to Schlock Mercenary, 20th and 21st century MREs stop going bad after about 70 years, and start very slowly getting better: the 1987-issue Chicken Patty (the "boot heel" which was originally best eaten suddenly, in a surprise assault, or better yet, thrown at the enemy) is particularly exquisite, having turned into a sweet, fluffy pudding by A.D. 2430, and into an actual mousse by 2890
- In The Unspeakable Vault (of Doom) one of the Elderz tried to make some instant soup, only to realize after he started making it that the packet was a few million years out of date. It ended up creating the Shoggies instead.
- Brad Tries... is all about the titular host consuming food and drink that's either from exotic countries, or was discontinued decades ago, like Crystal Pepsi from 1993 for example. Of particular note was his episode on Billy Beer, a beer from the 70s. Not only was he risking getting ill from the beer, he risked getting tetanus from the can.
- Ashens has a track record of at least tasting chocolate, bubblegum and candy a decade or two past their expiry dates. Record holder is a Vietnam-War era US Army crackers and chocolate ration tin. He also had an unopened chocolate tin from around the time of King Edward VII's coronation, but the chocolate looked so bad that he didn't even dare taste it.
- On Naruto: The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show, this is parodied and lampshaded. See the quote above.
- In Regular Show, Mordecai and Rigby find cans of soda from 1984 in their attic. They serve the sodas at a party, though no one gets sick. However, soda "pop top" cans are very tightly sealed, so it's unlikely they were expired-or even flat.
- In Undergrads, Rocko drinks clam juice that expired in 1978. He then hallucinates the Great Gazoo.
- The Simpsons:
- In the episode that was making fun of Mary Poppins, we learn that Apu sells products that are over a decade old. "And the clerk who runs the store, can charge a little more for milk (for milk) and meat (and meat) from 1984!"
- In another episode, Homer eats a box of baking soda from the back of the fridge that Homer thinks was there when they bought the house.
- In "The Bart of War", Bart and Milhouse drink a "40-year-old novelty beverage" they find in Ned Flanders' Beatles shrine and experience a Mushroom Samba.
- In "The Man Who Grew Too Much", when Lunchlady Doris reveals to Lisa that the vegetables she uses are genetically-modified to stay fresh, she tells her not to ask how old the Jell-O is. There are two trays of gelatin cut into letters to promote the final episode of M*A*S*H in 1983 and the Atlanta Olympics in 1996; the episode aired in 2014, so the trays would've respectively been around 31 and 18 years old.
- In a Garfield and Friends cartoon, Garfield stops Jon from cleaning out his refrigerator because (Garfield claims) some of the food has historical value: The mustard was used to disinfect wounds during the American Civil War.
- On Arthur, Buster has a "collection" of interesting-looking and potentially delicious food, all of which is old and stinky. Periodically, his mother throws it all out.
- The end of an episode of Fillmore! had all the safety patrollers hanging out at Ingrid's house. O'Farrel is eating raw cookie dough out of a carton that the others remark is decades old. Ingrid goes on to recite the ingredients from memory and reassures him that the dough contains enough preservatives to outlast the Sphinx.
- In the episode of Rocko's Modern Life, "Trash-O-Madness", Rocko finds in his fridge a mysterious tub that's so old it's covered with dust and when he blows off the dust it reads "Buy War Bonds." (Rocko is a young adult and the series takes place in the early 1990s.) All that's left in the tub is a large green moldy blob that Spunky decides is an excellent chew toy.
- In the penultimate episode of Total Drama's first season, the semifinalists get a special treat: pancakes made with ingredients "relatively close to their expiration date''. The implication is that the food they usually get fits this trope.
- From an episode of Home Movies:
McGuirk: Old fool dies, leaves me a sausage. Not money. A sausage. Because money is something I actually NEED. Now I have to sit here and eat this repugnant sausage. This sausage has to be 18 years old. This sausage could vote. This sausage could go to war and die for its country.
- In an episode of Steven Universe, Amethyst casually eats a moldy, 5-year-old tuna burrito without giving any thought about it. A few moments later, she clenches her stomach and doubles over, all while Pearl is explaining that the Gems can never die of old age...or food poisoning.
- When the gems return home after the events of The Cluster arc, Steven opens the fridge and immediately reels back from the stink.
Amethyst: Uh oh, that cake go bad?Steven: That was a cake!?
- When the gems return home after the events of The Cluster arc, Steven opens the fridge and immediately reels back from the stink.
- In an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, SpongeBob neglects Gary for days while he's cooped up in his room playing with a paddleball. To show how long it's been, Patrick takes out a carton of milk from the fridge and eats the mush inside, and is to deduce that it's seven to ten days past the expiration date.
- Parodied in The Amazing World of Gumball, when Darwin and Gumball buy a bunch of near-expired food sold for a discount. The instant it reaches its expiration date, the food not only becomes inedible but is destroyed completely in seconds: the eggs hatch into chicken, meat is devoured by maggots, and a canned rat spontaneously comes back to life and runs away.
- In the episode of Teen Titans that introduced the H.I.V.E., one of the things the Titans complain about after they reclaim their tower from the villains is that they threw away all the blue furry food in the refrigerator.
- The Loud House: Rita's Aunt Ruth keeps old canisters of pudding that she feeds to her grandnieces and grandnephew when they come over to visit her. After Lori questions what year the pudding was even made, her second youngest sister, Lisa, notices that the American flag on the canister's label only has 48 stars on it, so from that, it can be deduced that the pudding was made sometime between February 14th of 1912 (when Arizona became a state) and January 3rd of 1959 (when Alaska became a state—Hawaii became a state on August 21st of 1959, nearly eight months after Alaska). Also, assuming that the episode takes place in 2016, the pudding could be anywhere from 58 to 104 years old.
- Subverted in Daria. Jake freaks out when he finds out the waffles he just ate were dated for the previous month. Helen tries to assure him that it's only the sell-by date and the waffles have been frozen since then.
- In the Turbo F.A.S.T. episode "No Can Do", Chet opens a can of tomato juice to feed the town. It later turns out the juice expired in the 70's, so everyone who drinks it becomes delirious and starts worshipping the can.
- In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Tag Yer Ed", the Eds prepare to pour milk on their bowl of Chunky Puffs. The milk has evidently expired and comes out as a thick, solid slab.
- The Mexia Supermarket in Fort Worth, Texas. The owners suddenly abandoned the store in July of 1999 and left it sitting with all the food still inside. By November, the place was overrun with bugs and animals consuming the now extremely rotten food, and neighbors were complaining about the smell. By year's end, the place was finally cleaned up and fumigated. This story was featured on the Life After People episode "Last Supper".
- An abandoned Popeyes Chicken in Brooklyn, New York met a similar fate in mid-2011.
- After Hurricane Katrina, a lot of refugees returned to their homes when the flood receded to find that the food in their fridge had decayed to the point that some of them could be considered a biohazard, and walk-in fridges in certain restaurants had to be cleaned with the same procedures as dealing with fallout.
- There is a video out there (on YouTube) where purely for scientific interest, two willing volunteers prepare and consume a twelve-year-old Pot Noodle found in the forgotten dark depths of a food cupboard. What worried them was that while it looked grey and unappetizing, it still tasted broadly as if it were still fresh. Preservatives are there for a purpose, it seems...
- If you have ever worked at a store that sells perishable food, chances are you've encountered this at least a few times.
- In his Reddit AMA, Stefán Karl Stefánsson (who played Robbie Rotten in LazyTown), once relayed a story about how one time a scene called for Robbie to eat a piece of cake, and they used cream from a spray can to make the prop, however, when Stefán bit into the cake, it tasted horrible. Turns out the cream expired years ago.