Feta Cheese Frenzy: Understanding Whether It Goes Bad Without Refrigeration

In this post, we are going to answer the question, will feta cheese go bad if not refrigerated?

If you have ever accidentally left your cheese on the counter, this could be a cause for concern.

Does feta cheese contain preservatives?

How can you tell if feta cheese has gone bad?

How long can feta cheese be left out of the fridge?

Does the packaging make a difference?

Let’s see what the science has to say! 

Refrigerate feta cheese at all times. The duration it lasts depends on the packaging. Shrink-wrapped feta stays fresh for about a month, while feta stored in brine can last up to six months. Once opened, consume within five days. If left at room temperature, discard after six hours due to potential bacterial growth. Feta can be frozen, lasting up to six months, though the flavor may be affected.

Does Feta Cheese Need to Be Kept in the Fridge?

Most cheeses need to be kept in the fridge, and feta is no exception.

This is still the case, no matter how it is packaged.

Sometimes, feta cheese is sold in a block and will be covered in shrink-wrapped plastic.

If not opened, the cheese will last for approximately one month.

Typically, feta is preserved in brine.

This salt solution is a preservative and allows the cheese to remain edible for up to six months.

Once the feta is opened, regardless of whether plastic-wrapped or in brine, it will need to be eaten in five days.

It is possible to extend the life of feta longer than this if you change the brine for a fresh solution.

If it is plastic-wrapped, you need to seal it tightly again after opening it so that air can’t get to it.

It will dry out pretty quickly otherwise and only be suitable for cooking.

If you leave the feta cheese at room temperature, it very quickly develops harmful bacteria.

As a maximum, it should be eaten within six hours or returned to the fridge.

Feta can actually be frozen, whether unopened or not, for up to six months, but it will affect the taste.

How Can You Tell If Feta Cheese Has Gone Bad?

Although feta is aged during the cheesemaking process, it should be eaten soon after it has been opened.

There are certain characteristics to look out for that indicate it has gone off.

The most obvious will be the smell of the feta.

Some might argue it has a bad odor even when fresh!

However, if it smells particularly sour, this is a bad sign, and it should be disposed of. 

Next, consider its appearance and look for any obvious signs of mold.

Dark patches may also indicate harmful bacteria.  

If it has been preserved in brine, it will obviously be wet, but it should not feel slimy.

It should still have some texture and not be too crumbly.

Overall, just trust your common sense, and if any doubt, throw it out!

How Do You Know If Feta Cheese Has Gone Bad?

Final Thoughts

Feta cheese needs to be refrigerated, as it can deteriorate quite quickly.

The packaging makes a difference, and brined feta keeps for longer.

Always discard any feta cheese that has been out of the fridge for more than six months.

Obvious signs that the feta has gone bad include a sour smell, dark patches, or a slimy feel.

Trust your own judgment!

Always consult your health professional if you feel unwell after eating feta cheese.

You may be wondering if this applies to other varieties, so I wrote an article on whether you need to refrigerate Cheddar cheese.

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