What To Do if Your Cottage Cheese Container is Bulging

Cottage cheese is something a lot of people either eat plain or use in certain recipes. Like other foods that are placed in plastic containers and meant to be refrigerated, you may occasionally notice a little bulging in your otherwise airtight container of cottage cheese.

Is this cause for alarm?

The answer is—it depends. As a general rule, a bulging cottage cheese container should be thrown out in most cases because it means that bacterial activity has already begun. But just like everything else in life, there are exceptions to this rule.

Cottage cheese from container that was bulging

How Does It Happen?

Over time, bacteria start to multiply in foods such as cottage cheese, which causes gases in the container to expand and make the container bulge. Not only does the packaging start to bulge, but the lid can do the same thing.

In most foods, particularly canned foods, this is a clear sign that the food needs to be thrown out, but the exception to this rule comes when you are talking about fermented foods such as yogurt and others. With this type of food, the rules are a tiny bit different.

For the most part, if you’re dealing with store-bought food, you just have to pay attention to the expiration date. Commercial foods control the amount of bacteria inside them, so even if you see a bulging container on dairy products such as yogurt and cottage cheese, just check the expiration date and take a tiny taste of it. If both of those are good, the food product is safe to eat.

Various canned foods

On canned goods, however, bulging containers and expiration dates that have passed could signal food poisoning, so it’s best to throw them out.

Something Else To Think About

So what about unopened cottage cheese or canned goods? The same rules apply. Canned goods always need to be thrown out if there is a lot of bulging, especially if it’s past the expiration date. With cottage cheese and yogurt, just check the expiration date and the taste of the food, and make your decision based on that. For the most part, always throw the food out if its expiration date has passed. And if it’s a canned good that’s bulging, you have to do the same.

Only fermented foods that are bulging but not past the expiration date can be kept, as long as they don’t taste or smell funny. These are basic food safety rules that everyone should follow.