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How long can dry food stay fresh in the bag?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So, I stupidly bought a 13lbs bag of dry cat food for my one cat, thinking I'd be saving money by getting more for my dollar, without even thinking about how long it will stay fresh! Doh! 

 

How long would the food last in the bag? 

 

We have one big air-tight tupperware container for her food that we refill so we don't always have to open the bag, but instead of buying another (bigger) one to contain all this extra food, I have one of those white plastic rectangular tubs some kitty litter comes in that seems to be tightly sealed with the lid on. Would this be good enough to keep it fresh for a little longer? If so, how much longer compared to being in the bag? I think this bag of food would last until at least mid next year (6 months-ish) since two 5.5lbs bags lasted about 4-5 months... Anyway, after this realization, I would also be willing to throw away the left overs if it goes bad/stale. Thing is, I'm not sure how to tell if cat food is stale... so I'm just going by time/how long it lasts. 

 

Definitely learned my lesson and won't make the same mistake again! 

 

Thanks! 

post #2 of 9

That was smart, always buy the largest bag you can afford, you save a ton!  smile.gif

 

Dry food will be "good" for years unopened and months opened, the only thing you have to worry about is like an open box of cereal where if the air is humid the kibble just like your corn flakes will go stale (assuming your house is normal temperature/humidity 65-80oF and 30-60% humidity, someone storing the food outdoors would be in a different boat).    

 

So take the kibble out you need, and just wrap the bag up tightly when you are done and use a powerful chip-clip, piece of tape to hold it closed, or set it on the floor upside down so it can't unfold and you are golden.  

 

Basically you're just trying to prevent oxidation, so if you really want to stretch how long it stays fresh tasting then not only wrap the original bag back up, but the whole tightly wrapped bag back inside a sealed food storage container.   That way you have a double freshness seal.  

post #3 of 9

I would just add that, unlike corn flakes, cat food has oils, which can become rancid.  Rancidity is not a benign process, like getting stale.  It is a process of oxidation whereby the oils become "peroxides" which are very strong oxidizers.  If that sounds a bit technical, just understand that fat (oil) does go bad, and should not be consumed.  I stick with 5 lb bags for four cats!  Of course, that's not all I feed them.  They mainly get wet food, but I don't want to keep the dry around any longer that necessary.  Hope that helps...

post #4 of 9

You can preserve what you aren't going to use in the short term by putting it in a freezer bag and storing it in the freezer.

 

There are also air tight containers for storing pet food and even containers you can extract air from for better preservation without freezing. 

 

post #5 of 9

TinaSalmon, the bag should have an expiration date on it, so that should help you with what to do.  Some of the dry foods have a fairly long expiration date on them, so it may extend out past the middle of next year.  (I have a bag purchased a month or two ago with an expiration date of next April). 

 

As to storage, I've heard that keeping it in the original bag is best, but then putting that bag inside something airtight couldn't hurt, if you can't tape it shut, or use a strong clip or something like that.  But, I, too, keep a "working supply" of the food in a separate large airtight container so I only have to open the big bag once a week or so to refill my "working supply". 

 

That freezer suggestion sounds like it might be good too, but once you've done that, I would think you'd need to use it faster...like anything you freeze...once thawed, you need to use it.  Maybe if you freeze it, you should freeze it in serving size bags?  Not sure on that one.

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinySalmon View Post

So, I stupidly bought a 13lbs bag of dry cat food for my one cat, thinking I'd be saving money by getting more for my dollar, without even thinking about how long it will stay fresh! Doh! 

 

How long would the food last in the bag? 

 

 

Some interesting links you might want to check out on the life-span of kibble:

 

http://www.dog-nutrition-advice.com/dry-dog-food-storage.html

http://www.dog-nutrition-advice.com/freezing-dry-dog-food.html

 

 

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Presto View Post

I would just add that, unlike corn flakes, cat food has oils, which can become rancid.  Rancidity is not a benign process, like getting stale.  It is a process of oxidation whereby the oils become "peroxides" which are very strong oxidizers.  If that sounds a bit technical, just understand that fat (oil) does go bad, and should not be consumed.  I stick with 5 lb bags for four cats!  Of course, that's not all I feed them.  They mainly get wet food, but I don't want to keep the dry around any longer that necessary.  Hope that helps...


You can consult with the specific manufacturer, but its simply not an issue for most.  The fat for example is mixed with preservatives (for our food its "mixed tocopherols") before it is sprayed on the kibble, specifically so that the fat does not go rancid. 

 

According to Blue, the food remains optimally palatable (hasn't gone stale) for a month after the bag is opened, but can be extended well beyond that if you seal the bag after each opening and keep it in a relatively cool and dry environment (so common sense, don't put it in a humid basement or bathroom where you shower or outside in a shed).

 

We don't seal the bag as we use feeders, so instead aimed to minimize air exposure by using a bit of electrical tape on the lid after filling, and between the narrow neck, the feeder auger, and the hinged lid on the feeder it keeps the air out pretty well for all but the little bit of kibble that is about to be fed.    I always have a million ant hills outside, and no ant issues with the cat food either.  *knock on wood*   smile.gif

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ducman69 View Post

That was smart, always buy the largest bag you can afford, you save a ton!  smile.gif

 

Dry food will be "good" for years unopened and months opened, the only thing you have to worry about is like an open box of cereal where if the air is humid the kibble just like your corn flakes will go stale (assuming your house is normal temperature/humidity 65-80oF and 30-60% humidity, someone storing the food outdoors would be in a different boat).    

 

So take the kibble out you need, and just wrap the bag up tightly when you are done and use a powerful chip-clip, piece of tape to hold it closed, or set it on the floor upside down so it can't unfold and you are golden.  

 

Basically you're just trying to prevent oxidation, so if you really want to stretch how long it stays fresh tasting then not only wrap the original bag back up, but the whole tightly wrapped bag back inside a sealed food storage container.   That way you have a double freshness seal.  


This is true Ducman. Also, if you have the storage space you can buy an airtight container to store the food in.  I have a lot of storage.  I buy the biggest bags of dog and cat food Nutro makes.

 

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys, I found some big jars in the kitchen and am just using those instead of tupperware. The food fits in two and a half jars, so I think everything is okay now! 

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