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According to Yahoo, who asked both Sysco and the condiment packet museum online, there is no hard and fast shelf life. However, they think a year is probably reasonable.

I've found that it depends somewhat on what they are; the little jam things from restaurants don't seem to last as long as, say, ketchup packets.
 

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They don't last as long as you might think

http://www.wisn.com/news/9536721/detail.html

How Long Do Fast Food Condiments Last?

POSTED: 3:26 pm CDT July 18, 2006

If you open your desk drawer at work, you might find tons of packets of mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup being saved for later.

Most of those packets do not have expiration dates, and you usually can't see what is inside.

How do you know when they go bad?

WISN 12 News' Portia Young went to the source. She talked to those who make the condiments to find out how long they are good for.

Heinz Corp. Products

Product -- Shelf Life
(for a single serving)

*
* Ketchup -- 7 months
* Chopped onions -- 7 months
* Mayonnaise -- 8 months
* Fat-free mayonnaise -- 8 months
* Relish -- 9 months
* Mild taco sauce -- 9 months
* Hot taco sauce -- 4 months
* Yellow mustard -- 9 months
* BBQ sauce -- 9 months
* Steak sauce -- 9 months
* Tartar sauce -- 8 months
* Horseradish sauce -- 8 months
* Cocktail sauce -- 9 months
Tabasco sauce -- 8 months

Taco Bell

Sauce packets (fire, hot and mild) are best used within 120 days.

However, due to their popularity, the restaurant said they average less than 30 days in the stores.
 

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From sombody that probably consumed a million expired ones jelly goes bad fast and fire sauce from taco bell but the other ones seem to last forever. Oh and the parmesan cheese goes bad pretty fast.
 

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http://www.portionpac.com/products.aspx may help.
Selecting mayonnaise and portion pac shows a list. Clicking one pulled up the info below plus a good bit more info. It is a Heinz division.

Code Date: 10 Digit Code Date
Year, Month, Day, Shift, Machine,
Plant Code
Example: 00/04/27/1/02/A

Storage: Dry storage at ambient temperature.
DO NOT FREEZE!
Shelf Life: 120 days @ 70° F
Allergens: Egg products
This was in the Paaaaaaaackets thread.
 

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I'm guessing that ketchup and mustard last a very long time due to the high acetic acid (aka vinegar) content. I have used ketchup and mustard packets that were years old. Mayo could go quick. The little butter/margarine cups go quick as well if they are not refrigerated. I bet soy sauce lasts a long time due to the high salt content.
 

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I have some ~15 year old ketchup packets. Some have turned puffy, most haven't.

I would advise to never eat the puffy bloated ones. The normal looking ones are fine to eat (based on experience).

I plan to run some tests on a few puffy ones I saved. I'll try to remember and post back with the results.
 

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Mother of 3 fast-food addicts here.

I always gather the extra packets and store them for when we run out (and I don't want to open the "vault" to get another bottle). Must have a couple hundred by now and haven't ever opened one that looked/smelled/tasted like it had gone over. Maybe 'cause I store them in a cool basement?
 

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Mother of 3 fast-food addicts here.

I always gather the extra packets and store them for when we run out (and I don't want to open the "vault" to get another bottle). Must have a couple hundred by now and haven't ever opened one that looked/smelled/tasted like it had gone over. Maybe 'cause I store them in a cool basement?
Whatever the baseline storage life is, the place you store it will multiply or divide that.
A "6 month" item in your cool basement might last 9 months, while in my hot garage, it might only last 4-5.
But after that time, it might still be safely usable, just discolored and a bit stale/bland tasting.
 

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Plus the ants getting into them.

I found some honey packets empty.

Salsa packets turn dark fast.

As always, YMMV and your taste buds.

I would rather store jar/jug size than packets.

Packets are good for homemade MREs or lunches to be used within months.
 

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As mentioned above, I also have seen mustard packet contents turn brownish when they're old. Ketchup, too. The only long lasting condiment I know of is Popeye's honey packets. I keep a small supply on hand for when the kids get a sore throat. They work great.
 

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New user... need help quick. Could somebody here contact jakestew (see his post). Put a packet of grey poupon on my sandwich. The packet was puffy but the mustrard looked ok.

Two huge bites later boy was in taste hell. Tasted like i ate chemicals not food. I mean this was baaaaad grey poupon. Now im nausues, dizzy, sweating and stomach hurts.

I cant find any info on how bad this is for you... Jakestew says he is running tests. I cant contact him because i need to post 5 times or something.

Lesson to everyone! Puffy condiment package you are not getting extra so do be like obey they filled this one to capicity. Oh no its not a good thing. Its not even a taste that is of this earth. Im sick and keep burping upnthis burnt plastic copper penny moldy mushroom flavor.
 

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New user... need help quick. Could somebody here contact jakestew (see his post). Put a packet of grey poupon on my sandwich. The packet was puffy but the mustrard looked ok.

Two huge bites later boy was in taste hell. Tasted like i ate chemicals not food. I mean this was baaaaad grey poupon. Now im nausues, dizzy, sweating and stomach hurts.

I cant find any info on how bad this is for you... Jakestew says he is running tests. I cant contact him because i need to post 5 times or something.

Lesson to everyone! Puffy condiment package you are not getting extra so do be like obey they filled this one to capicity. Oh no its not a good thing. Its not even a taste that is of this earth. Im sick and keep burping upnthis burnt plastic copper penny moldy mushroom flavor.
If you are that sick, go to the doctor, don't sit here looking for someone that hasn't been logged on, in more than year.



When you are feeling better, come back and learn about plastic not being a vapor barrier and how to ensure your food is safe. :thumb:
 
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