A bar of plain Old chocolate doesn’t expire per se. However, if not kept at the proper temperature and humidity, it will lose temper and bloom, which will affect both appearance and flavor.
Like any food with fats in it, over time, the fats will oxidize and change the flavor of the product. If you want the product to taste as it should, then it should be consumed within 3-4 months of production. It’s not at all uncommon for people to eat chocolate that’s 6 months to a year old (pretty frequent with imported chocolate) and not notice (though they may if they had an opportunity to compare it to the fresh product). After a year, the flavor with decline substantially. Ultimately, it will taste like slippery dirt and absorb any ambient flavor from odors where it’s stored. That said, stored correctly, it’s probably safe-to-eat for a decade or more – it just won’t be tasty. Assuming we’re talking dark chocolate.
What Are The Dangers Of Having Plain Old Chocolate?
With most food items, that’s not an expiration date. It’s a “Best if used/consumed by” time. And if consuming beyond this date, it will likely result in a loss of optimal taste/texture and isn’t likely to pose a danger to your health.
A note of exception here is dairy products, such as milk. Be aware that the date you see stamped on it is a “sell by” date, and by law, it must remain “usable” for seven days beyond this date! And if it goes “sour” before the seven-day mark, you are entitled to a refund! Don’t take “no” for an answer. Note that although it can take a while to thaw completely, even whole gallons of milk can be frozen successfully. And I have yet to try it, but you can easily make your Ricotta cheese with any leftover whole milk that time has run out on.
Some More Information
Waste not, want not, and yeah, it’s old school. But in a world where almost everything is now to be “disposable,” this “old school” info is more applicable than ever. Consider this. If it’s cheap enough to throw out, then you have the opportunity to make a difference without it costing you a single dime. Imagine the possibilities. Just a thought.
I apologize for wandering somewhat “off-topic,” but one of the few things that I have a problem with is all the food that gets trashed when it could mean the difference between life or death for so many people that would gladly dig it back out of the trash to avoid starvation, and that is so not right, it is just wrong. I worked next to an Einstein’s bagel place awhile back and was appalled to learn that at the end of the day, they would “dispose” of 100–300 bagels per day…! WTF!?! There is no excuse for such a travesty of wrongdoing, …and anyone that can afford to budget for that percentage of loss is just WRONG, no matter how you view it, or from what perspective!