Home / AMERICAN NEWS / Why Is There An Expiration Date On Sour Cream? – ‘The Why’

Why Is There An Expiration Date On Sour Cream? – ‘The Why’

Welcome to the latest edition of The Why.

Everywhere you look the media is pushing you telling you who to follow, what to watch and when to watch it.   You’re even sometimes told how to do it all.  Truth is, here at American Live Wire we do a bit of that too.  The big difference is we also tell you why.

You ask the questions.  We provide the answers.

“Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?” you ask?  Good question. No, actually it’s one of those stupid questions that people pass off as jokes and yet there’s a logical answer to even some of the silliest questions if you really think about it.

expiration date on sour cream

Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?/Image: WackyButtons

For those who may never have heard the gag though the point of the joke is that sour cream is already sour; get it? As more than one online source can confirm you don’t make sour cream by taking regular cream and letting it sit out on your window sill for a few hours until it smells sour, mmmkay?

Before we answer the question—“Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?” let’s review. Sour cream starts out as light or regular cream. It is then pasteurized which actually kills the bulk of the microorganisms that make raw milk go sour. According to Wikipedia it is then fermented “with certain kinds of lactic acid bacteria. The bacterial culture . . . sours and thickens the cream. Its name stems from the production of lactic acid by bacterial fermentation which is called souring.”

One more thing before we answer the question “Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?” some of you who shall remain nameless need to get something straight. There are sometimes multiple dates on food products. The “sell by” date is different from the expiration date. As Ask.com notes: “The expiration date of sour cream is up to three weeks after the sell by date.”

OK, you say, that’s all well and good but why is there an expiration date on sour cream? Having been in his teenage son’s bathroom more than once, your parental penman already knows about bacteria. Bacterial action does not totally stop.

If the sour cream sits around long enough it will become so sour you won’t be able to eat it. It will also eventually become moldy; thus, the expiration date.

Why is there an expiration date on sour cream? Now you know.

You ask the questions.  We provide the answers.

 

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.