Jon Abad asks:
Does soda go bad?
I just got a Mountain Dew out of the coke machine and there is a â€œFor Best Taste, Drink by this dateâ€ thing on the side like with certain american beers.
So my question to the all powerful Oz (aka McQuaid) is can soda go bad while its in the can? Whatâ€™s its shelf life? Will it outlive us all?
Yes —– and no!
First off, the ingredients in soda are generally water, carbon dioxide, sugar (or sugar replacement), and flavoring. Luckily, none of these will “go bad” in the traditional sense (microorganisms taking over the can and poison the drinker).
Let’s look at the ingredients individually and see what we can see.
Water will not go bad. And since the can is sealed, it won’t evaporate. No problem here.
– CARBON DIOXIDE
The carbon dioxide WILL eventually percolate out of the can through osmosis. This means that eventually, the soda will go flat. Does this constitute “going bad”? I think not – the soda is still consumable, you just may not want to. This could indicate why the “best taste by” date is given on your can of Mountain Dew.
Usually a growth medium for everything, the sugar in the can is protected by being vacuum sealed in, and by being in solution. Shouldn’t be a problem here. BUT….
– SUGAR SUBSTITUTE
Aspartame is under fire by certain groups who state that it breaks down into methanol and formaldhyde in the small intestine, and that is unhealthy. While it is undisputed that this occurs, some state that the levels are not toxic, since alcoholic beverages do the same thing. There is evidence both ways.
In any case, the argument is that the aspartame decomposes into methanol and formaldhyde if left in a metal can for too long. This probably ruins the taste of the soda if it does occur.
The flavoring components are usually matched with preservatives, so there’s no chance of them causing the soda to go bad.
In summary, I’d believe the label – for best TASTE, drink before the date on the can. Otherwise, the soda may be flat, taste too much like the can (from slowly eroding aluminum molecules away), or be otherwise compromised.