Follow TV Tropes


Way Past the Expiration Date

Go To
"When it was packaged, was civilization using the Gregorian or Julian calendar?"
"This expired milk is an 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, though some people avoid food poisoning incidents by employing Unconventional Food Usage and using it for non-eating purposes. Contrast Indestructible Edible and Inexplicably Preserved Dungeon Meat.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Accel World, the heroes stop by Sky Raker's home in Brain Burst a place that she hasn't visited in two years. Since one second in the real world is equal to 1,000 seconds in Brain Burst, Sky Raker warns the others that the food is two millennia out of date.
  • Cowboy Bebop:
  • A recurring gag in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days is that the Elixirs that the Moogle sells to Roxas happen to be expired.
  • One bit in Lucky Star has Tsukasa get herself something to eat from the fridge, so she grabs a box there and opens it. Whatever used to be edible has rotten to the point of being censored via Pixelation, causing her to throw it away in shock.
  • In one Lupin III: Part II 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 with diarrhea, which gets in the way of his attempts to trick Sakura by disguising himself as Sasuke. At the end of the episode, Hiruzen is showing Naruto's apartment to Kakashi, who notices that the carton of milk Naruto drank that morning was way past its expiration date.
  • Nichijou: In a quick gag, Yuuko eats a piece of bread, only to notice that the expiration date was printed on the food itself. She’d already eaten most of the year, so there’s no telling when it went bad.

    Asian Animation 
  • Played for laughs at the end of the Bread Barbershop episode "Tea Master" as part of a plot twist; Wilk finds out that the tea that the Tea Master gave him expired in 1990. Despite this, when mixed with Wilk's tears, it becomes a delectable treat that Bread enjoys.

  • George Carlin's does a bit called "The Ice Box man" on the live album/live show "A Place For My Stuff" in which for a good part of the bit he discusses how people deal with expired foods in the refrigerator (aka icebox).

    Comic Strips 
  • One FoxTrot strip had Roger give Andy a late Valentine's Day box of chocolates he found while cleaning out his closet. Andy is understanding since Valentine's Day was only a few weeks ago until she notices the note reads "To the mother of my two children". The Fox family has three kids and the youngest is ten, making the chocolates between eleven and fourteen years old.
  • 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.
    • The Coleslaw that Time Forgot is implied to be this by the name alone.
    • Another strip has Garfield listing old dates during a "trip down memory lane", then revealing that he's checking the expiration dates of food in Jon's refrigerator.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • On Naruto: The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show, this is parodied and lampshaded. See the quote above.
  • In the Seth in the Pokécity episode "Bowlin' Again, Naturally", Seth falls asleep during a Poké Ball inspection. A various assortment of disgusting items pass the inspection line, such as salami from 1999 (the episode was released in 2019).
  • In Expired Harry dies after eating out-of-date Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans.
  • In one chapter of Superwomen of Eva: American Dream, Mari Makinami (a.k.a. Captain America - It's a Long Story) eats an MRE that has been packed with her gear by SHIELD and remarks that It Tastes Like Feet, but dismisses it as it being typical of Meals Ready to Eat. An Omake late in the chapter (which may not be canon) explains that some SHIELD agents who don't like her took the MREs from a surplus marked for disposal and that had been lying around in the Helicarrier's stores since at least Second Impactnote .
  • In Voyages of the Wild Sea Horse, Urogue admits to having drank the last existing bottle of wine from the Void Century. He then reveals he ended up sick as no wine lasts for eight centuries.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Amazing Maurice: Malicia offers Maurice some fish heads and "hardly expired" milk when he and Keith first visit her home. When she goes to pour the milk, however, she has to shake it out because it's become gelatinous and sticks in the bottle.
  • In the opening of The Simpsons Movie, Apu is seen doctoring the expiration date of a milk carton, turning the 6 in 2006 into an 8.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • From Down Periscope:
    Pascal: Jesus, Buckman! This stuff's been on the Stingray since Korea! This can expired in 1966!
    Buckman: What's the matter, sir? It still tastes like creamed corn...
    Pascal: Except it's DEVILED HAM!
  • The Muppets (2011): When the Muppets return to their old studio after years away the Swedish Chef finds the talking vegetables in his fridge are covered in mold, so he cleans it out with a flamethrower.
  • The Naked Gun: 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.
  • 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.
  • The League of Gentlemen. In order to steal weapons from an army training camp, the robbers do the Surprise Inspection Ruse, claiming that the area commander has received complaints about the food. The commanding officer runs about in a panic trying to get everything shipshape for his arrival, and orders the cook to take tinned fruit from the officer's mess and serve it up to the troops. After he leaves, the cook says he shouldn't get excited as the stuff was probably tinned for the Boer War.

  • Fighting Fantasy: In The Citadel of Chaos, the player character comes across a kitchen and pantry at one point, where they're given the option of trying some of the stored cheese, meat or bread. The cheese is stated to be in bad shape judging by the smell, but ironically, eating some of the least spoiled bits actually restores Stamina. In fact, it's the only food in the pantry that's edible, as both the meat and the bread is supernaturally inedible; the (cooked and salted) meat is somehow still alive, and will cause Stamina damage trying to break out of your stomach until it's digested, and the bread curses whoever eats it with an unnatural thirst that leads to Skill damage.

  • At one point in the backstory of The Disaster Artist, Greg is invited over to Tommy's house in San Francisco and finds, amongst other messy debris throughout the place, expired food in his fridge. When the former comments about the apartment's condition, the latter's only reply is that "his maid is on vacation".
  • 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.
  • 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. Fortunately they contain enough penicillin to wipe out an alien plague he'd accidentally picked up on his travels.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In series 3 episode 33 of Bar Rescue, the strawberry margarita mix was over a year old.
  • In the Bottom episode "Culture", Eddie finds a pot of cress in the fridge.
    Eddie: What's this pot of cress doing in the fridge?
    Richie: That's not cress, it's the yogurt you started during the Gulf war.
    Eddie: You could have told me. Might as well finish it.
  • An episode of Boy Meets World had Cory faking sick to avoid Topanga, causing her to come over with a bottle of juice that Cory claimed read "best before Lincoln's assassination."
  • 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."
  • 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 and pretending it made him delirious. Then Brent and Hank discover he was just pranking them and prank him back by making him think he actually ate it by mistake instead of the decoy he prepared. Then Emma actually does eat it, but the episode ends before we find out what happens to her.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Power of Three", Amy and Rory return to their house after another trip with the Doctor and start trying to work out how long they've been away. Amy starts going through the fridge and listing off how out-of-date the contents are.
    Amy: Milk two months out of date. Yogurt...(looks into the container and yelps) don't ask!
  • The 2002 Christmas Episode of Fear Factor had the contestants drink 100-year-old eggnog (with some reindeer testicles on the side).
  • In the reality show Hoarders, several hoarders have kept food that expired years ago in their fridge.
  • A 2009 episode of iCarly features Carly's old friend Missy giving Sam a box of fancy imported chocolates... but then Sam mysteriously falls ill. We soon find out that the chocolates expired in 1992.
  • Is It Legal?: Darren at one point gets food poisoning from eating chicken nuggets that were a year past their expiration date.
  • In Kim's Convenience, Mr. Kim is annoyed when his daughter Janet takes down the expired ravioli he was trying to sell at their titular store and attempts to prove they're still fine by eating one of the cans. Sure enough, he at least gets a scare when he makes frequent trips to the bathroom that day and gets sick (it also turns out Mrs. Kim's galbijjim, which both he and the sick Janet ate, went bad too, so it's not 100% clear if the ravioli also had any effect or not).
  • 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.
  • Married... with Children had Al intentionally eating expired food on occasion, due to his usual Too Hungry to Be Polite manner given how Peg never goes grocery shopping and if she does, it's usually for herself. In one episode, he finds a cereal in the cupboard called "Cocoa Lumps" that says "Best Sold Before 1989" (the episode took place in 1993) which he then surmises that it's good for him because he's eating it instead of selling it.
  • 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. In one episode, Hawkeye calls an abrupt halt to a poker game, claiming "one of the sandwiches just moved."
  • The Muppets Mayhem: In "Track 5: Break On Through", the Electric Mayhem band eat some marshmallows that expired on June 1992, which results in them hallucinating.
  • On NewsRadio, Bill buys stale sandwiches from an old sandwich vending machine, on purpose. He likes them because they remind him of his childhood.
  • In Salute Your Shorts, Dr. Kahn announces over the speaker that there was a shipment error for their food, and advises the campers to disregard any milk containers dated 1983 (bear in mind the show aired in the early '90s).
  • Seinfeld:
    • 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 sneaks into her boss's office and eats a piece of cake she finds in his mini-fridge... not knowing until after the fact that it was left over from the wedding of King Edward VIII in 1937, and a valuable collector's item that Peterman paid $29,000 for. When he catches her on the security camera, he calls her into his office.
      Peterman: Elaine, I have a question for you. Is the item still... [pats his stomach] 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 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.

  • The characters of The Grossery Gang are so past their expiration date that they have gained sentience. The convenience store they're from shut down after losing business after a superhighway to a different town was created, leaving the town basically abandoned. Abandoned food, combined with an inexplicable toxic leak in the ventilation system, caused the Grosseries to be formed.

    Video Games 
  • In Barbarous: Tavern of Emyr Emyr's derogatory remarks about an orcish bar include the fact that the lone barrel of beer expired two years ago.
  • In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, 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.
  • Invoked in Day of the Tentacle; one of the items needed for Dr. Ed Edison's superbattery is vinegar. Hoagie, who's trapped in 1776 and needs the battery to power his part of the time machine, hides a bottle of wine in the basement of the Edisons ancestral mansion, where it's found by Laverne, who's stuck in 2176. After 400 years, the wine has spoiled, turning it into vinegar.
  • Fallout:
    • 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, but that's true of all the food in the Wasteland, even the newly-cooked stuff.
    • Parodied in Fallout 4 with the Perfectly Preserved Pie, a random drop you can get from the Food-O-Matic machines. Unlike other pre-war food which is either sealed up in containers or reduced to mold dust, the Pie has been sitting in pristine condition exposed to the elements for 200 years. Understandably, several followers tell you to avoid it.
  • In The Feeble Files, Feeble buys a bunch of very cheap, but also very expired Charisma X pills. As it turns out, they end up having the opposite effect when expired, causing the user to get very uncharismatic.
  • 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.
  • A scenario similar to the aforementioned Day of the Tentacle was also used in Season 2 of Sam & Max: Freelance Police. In that case, upon traveling back in time, Sam would have to deliberately leave a bottle of wine open for years in order for it to become the vinegar used to solve a puzzle.
  • Team Fortress 2 has Soldier, who by the time of the Pyromania update was left homeless (kicked out by his Monster Roommate, the comically Inept Mage Merasmus) and reduced to being a deranged, violent hobo. Where he previously survived on a diet of fast food ribs, army surplus soup, and stolen heart medication, he ends up eating out of old cans of expired army surplus soup. The game takes place in 1968, so for the soup to be army surplus (and therefore not from what would be considered current, Vietnam-era stock) it must have been canned during the Korean War at the earliest and therefore is a minimum of 15 years past its canning date. The game uses this for comedy at Soldier's expense, mostly to mock his moronic and jingoistic ways—he's been shown stealing other items that are of more current vintage, but he is so dedicated to the pretense of having been in the US Army that he will gladly eat the outdated rations, no matter what unseen distress may follow.

    Web Animation 
  • The punchline of the Homestar Runner short "Characters From Yonder Website" is that Homestar and the gang are hallucinating being in an "unbelievably soothing children's program" after drinking some Smarty Juice, which expired in 2007. Strong Sad ends up deciding to drink some as well and joins them in an Easter Egg.

  • Awkward Zombie
    • In one hourly comic, Norrin complains to Katie that the only mustard they had was horseradish mustard and that it expired months ago. Katie tells him to stop being a baby and eat it.
    • In another hourly comic, Katie finds a can of Chef Boyardee that expired in May (this was in October). She shrugs and dumps it into a bowl anyway.
  • Brawl in the Family uses this for a gag about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The strip begins with Link being woken up by Rauru after seven years to continue his fight against Ganondorf. Then Rauru suddenly notices a foul smell coming from Link, who pulls out an extremely rancid 7-year-old bottle of Lon Lon Milk. This is in contrast to the actual game, where Lon Lon Milk you get as a child will still be drinkable in the adult timeline.
  • The Class Menagerie: One early strip used this gag for a strip titled "How Men And Women Read Expiration Dates." (For added comedy, this strip was originally published on July 20th, 1999.)
    Cindy: I wonder if this is still fresh? [reads] "Sell By June 6".
    Tony: [reads] "Sell By June 6. Best if Eaten By June 19. Stale But still Okay by July 3. Eat ONLY if nothing else is in the house by July 20. Certifiably toxic by Aug 11. Do Not actually throw out until After October 24". Yum!
  • 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. Said cereal was the long-discontinued Nintendo Cereal System brand, which has never run out despite Ethan eating from the same box for years because Lucas thinks it has been reproducing inside the box.
  • In Freefall, Sam loves past-expiration date food. His being a scavenger race probably causes this.
  • Girl Genius: Gil tries to mix up a cure for Tarvek in Castle Heterodyne, but quickly realizes that everything stored there is nearly twenty years old and thus expired, requiring a drastic action to save him.
  • In the November 4, 2014 page of Savestate, Kade finds a carton of orange juice in the mansion he and his sister inherited with a listed expiration date of 122010. Unfortunately, he's so groggy that he thinks the "EXP" stands for Experience Points.
  • 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.
  • In this xkcd, Megan and her mother make finding expired foodstuffs into a competitive game, to the horror of her friends.
  • Whomp!:
    • In this strip, Ronnie and Agrias eat some Valentine's Day chocolates, which Ronnie says that he bought during a post-Valentine's sale... despite it still being the 14th. Agrias then asks what year did he buy them; Ronnie says that he was looking forward to seeing The Matrix, and the strip was published in 2018, making the chocolates 19 years old.
    • A milder example in this strip, where Ronnie finds a jug of milk in his fridge that had expired almost 6 months earlier.

    Web Videos 
  • In the Angry Video Game Nerd's review of Chex Quest, the eponymous Nerd starts the video off by having a bowl of Rice Chex cereal for breakfast. When he notices the cereal tastes funny, he looks at the box and finds out it expired in 1996 (the video was uploaded in 2019), causing him to vomit behind the box. He then remarks that he "really needs to go food shopping somewhere besides eBay."
  • Stuart Ashen:
    • Ashen 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 at the turn of the twentieth century, but the chocolate looked so bad that he didn't even dare taste it.
    • The oldest thing he's ever opened is a jar of olives purported to have been recovered from the wreck of a merchant ship named the Stirling Castle. He initially pegged the jar as being at least 130 years old under the mistaken belief that the shipwreck occurred in 1886. Stuart found out shortly after posting the video that this particular brig went down in 1836, making the jar about one hundred and eighty years old! Needless to say, what came out of the jar was no longer fit for consumption, and he even wore latex gloves throughout the video.
      Stuart: Better try a bit of this — NO, I AM JOKING. There's no way on God's green Earth that this is going near anybody's mouth or face.
  • 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.
  • Happens twice in Scott The Woz:
    • "New Super Mario Bros. | What's New Is Old" opens with Scott drinking (and spitting out) milk that he left outside but never opened for a week, believing that not opening it makes it technically still "new."
    • "Game Foods" ends with Scott eating a can of Super Mario soup, not realizing until it was too late that the soup expired 3 years prior. He ended up being admitted to the hospital again.
  • In the SuperMarioLogan episode "The Couch!", Shrek eats expired cheesecake, Mario eats expired peanut butter, and Rosalina drinks expired milk. All of them end up having diarrhea on the couch, ruining it.

    Western Animation 
  • 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 Game", Nicole cleans out the boys' room, which includes some food. She asks them what was in a glass she found and is told it's milk. When she turns the whole thing over, it slowly slides out as one piece, with Gumball amending that it's a glass of cheese. Then it finally dislodges from the cup, crashes straight through the floor, and practically caves in Richard's head. Gumball amends it's a glass of stone. Afterwards, there is a moldy slice of pizza that is so old it sprouts legs, screeches, and crawls out the window.
    • In "The Microwave", one of the components of the gross jar is a piece of rotten milk. Richard almost eats it, but it tastes terrible, so Gumball holds out the jar for him to spit into.
    • In "The Procrastinators", Gumball finds an old chocolate bar in the sofa. Darwin says it's so bad that it must've turned into cheese chocolate. Gumball forces it down and throws it back up on Darwin.
  • Animaniacs, in one of the Good Idea/Bad Idea sketches.
    Good Idea: Finding Easter eggs on Easter morning.
    Bad Idea: Finding Easter eggs on Christmas morning.
  • 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.
  • 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 Earthworm Jim episode "Sword of Righteousness", Jim kicks off the episode's plot by bringing Peter some pre-made vending machine sandwiches. Peter notes the expiration date on the sandwiches was 2006 B.C.
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Tag Yer Ed", the Eds prepare to pour milk for their Chunky Puffs cereal. When Edd pours some into Eddy's bowl, the milk has evidently expired and comes out as a thick, solid slab.
    Eddy: I love Chunky Puffs!
    Eddy: I hate chunky milk.
  • 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.
  • F is for Family: As Frank finds out, one of the "perks" of working for Champagne Chariot (a company that maintains and restocks vending machines) is that you get to take home all the expired merchandise.
    Smokie: This soda's as flat as yo' ass! But it's free!
    Frank: There was a mouse in mine...
  • 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.
  • Gravity Falls: In the short "Mabel's Guide to Color", the kids are planning on how to show Stan a rainbow. Grenda says that she sees rainbows when she drinks expired milk, then downs a whole bottle.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • In "Dumb Luck", during a montage of Billy experiencing supernatural bad luck, he pours some milk on his cereal and out comes a yellow glob. He gives the bowl to Milkshakes, who then licks it and falls over stunned, to Billy's shock.
    • In the special "Wrath of the Spider Queen", after Billy tells Jeff off for spilling his chocolate milk carton, he picks it up from the ground and drinks it. Immediately getting a taste of disgust, Billy reads the expiration date as listed from January 21, 1974note ... and continues drinking it anyway.
  • In one episode of Hey Arnold!, Arnold makes himself some cereal, then pours in the milk, which is rotten. Grandpa Phil quips that either the milk's gone bad or they've found a new way to package cottage cheese.
  • 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.
  • The Loud House:
    • When the Loud siblings visit their mom's Aunt Ruth, she feeds them pudding from old canisters that she keeps at her house. One of those canisters, as pointed out by Lisa (the second-youngest sibling and a Child Prodigy) has an American flag with only 48 stars on it, meaning the pudding was made sometime between February 14th of 1912 (when Arizona became an official state) and January 3rd of 1959 (when Alaska became an official state). Assuming the episode took place in 2016 (the year it aired), the pudding that Ruth was feeding to Lincoln and his sisters could've been anywhere from 58 to 104 years old.
    • Another episode has Lincoln drinking what he thinks is root beer, only for Clyde to reveal that is in fact Dr. Peabody's Onion Elixir from 1812! Cue a Spit Take.
    • Flip of Flip's Food and Fuel is infamous for selling expired food by tampering with the expiration dates.
  • Ozzy & Drix:
  • The Patrick Star Show:
    • In "Olly Olly Organ Free", the food in Patrick's fridge has mostly degenerated into green sludge, with one burger staying in so long it's gained sentience.
    • In "The Star Games", Patrick has Cecil and Bunny go on Expired, a Game Show where they eat disgusting expired food and guess what it was, and when it expired. Both of them guess wrong and end up passing out from the food.
  • 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.
  • Rocko's Modern Life:
    • In "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 "Love Spanked", Rocko pours himself a bowl of cereal. The milk is rancid, but he eats it anyway and thinks nothing of it.
    • In "Future Schlock", Filburt has been keeping a banana in Rocko's refrigerator for seventeen years, as he put it in there the last time he saw Rocko and Heffer before they were blasted off into space by a monkey who was a test subject for Conglom-O. When Gilbert and Norbert, Filburt's children, find it, they come to Filburt so he can tell them about it.
  • 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!"
    • Which we would have remembered from an episode three seasons earlier when Apu loses the Kwik-E-Mart after he makes Homer sick with marked-down expired ham (and later, shrimp).
    • In "Worst Episode Ever", Homer eats a box of baking soda from the back of the fridge that Marge claims came with the house when she and Homer first bought it.
    • 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 Grand Finale 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.
    • A classic joke from "Selma's Choice" revolved around Homer bringing home a giant party sub sandwich from a company picnic, and kept eating it over the course of several weeks, even as it began to spoil. Finally, it was visibly rotting and covered in fungus, and he still wouldn't stop trying to eat it. It finally came back to bite him when he got food poisoning and couldn't visit Duff Gardens. Even then, Marge finally had to put her foot down and make him throw the sandwich out.
    • In "30 Minutes Over Tokyo", the Simpsons go grocery shopping at a 33 Cents Store so they can save for a vacation, and Homer eats a can of plankton, which expired three years previously, according to the Mexican Council of Health. He immediately succumbs to Red Tide Poisoning.
  • 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 somehow able to deduce that it's seven to ten days past the expiration date.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In "So Many Birthdays", 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 in "Steven Floats" after spending weeks staying at the barn, Steven opens the fridge and immediately reels back from the stink.
      Amethyst: Uh oh, that cake go bad?
      Steven: That was a cake!?
  • In the episode of Teen Titans (2003) 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.
  • One episode of Teen Titans Go! has Cyborg and Beast Boy have a staring contest to determine who gets the last slice of a pizza. Cyborg wins and tries to eat the slice, only to discover that it's extremely moldy and rotten. It's only when they exit the restaurant that they realize that 30 years have passed while they were staring at the slice.
  • Total Drama:
    • In the penultimate episode of the 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.
    • When the teams merge in Pahkitew Island, the first part of their first challenge is to drink expired meat shakes called Juggy Chunks. According to Chef, they expired in 1978.
  • 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 '70s, so everyone who drinks it becomes delirious and starts worshipping the can.
  • In the T.U.F.F. Puppy episode, "Doom and Gloom", Snaptrap and his henchmen are arrested for robbing the gumball machine at the bus station and imprisoned for three to five years. When they are released from prison, Snaptrap finds a carton of milk he bought before he got arrested on his table, which has gone bad from sitting out for three to five years. He makes Francisco drink it to see if it's still fresh, and Francsico gets sick as a result. After his former D.O.O.M teammates turn against him, Snaptrap says he doesn't need them anyway, since he's the only smart one. Immediately afterwards, he finds some three to five-year-old guacamole, eats it, and gets sick.
  • In Undergrads, Rocko drinks clam juice that expired in 1978. He then hallucinates the Great Gazoo.

    Real Life 
  • 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...
  • There is another series of videos on YouTube where decades-old military rations are investigated and even consumed. The record is a British emergency ration from between 1899 and 1902 which was about as disgusting as one might expect (although in all fairness it probably was pretty vile to begin with).
  • 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.
  • In 1951, meat from a mammoth found preserved in the Siberian tundra was served at a very exclusive dinner...or so the story goes; DNA analysis of a piece left over showed it was actually sea turtle meat. Although other stories have surfaced claiming it's edible but tastes about as bad as you'd expect meat more than 200,000 years old to taste.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology possesses a carton of milk that was purchased by a student in 1994 and has been hanging around campus ever since. The leaky carton is sealed in a jar with a pool of unappealing yellow-brown liquid at the bottom. It's not refrigerated; there's no point.
  • During the Russo-Ukrainian war in 2022, there were multiple reports of Russian army rations that expired in 2015.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Best Before Decade



Patrick puts his parents on a game show where they have to taste expired food and guess what it was, and when it went bad.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / WayPastTheExpirationDate

Media sources: