Up until just now, this was on my short list of things I really wanted to know. Thanks to the folks over at Mental Floss, I can now remove this one question off my list! Isn't that great?
Why Does Bottled Water Have an Expiration Date?
by Matt Soniak
Have you ever wondered why that bottle of Poland Spring has a “drink by” date on it when common sense dictates that water doesn’t go bad? You can thank the great state of New Jersey. A 1987 NJ state law required all food products sold there to display an expiration date of two years or less from the date of manufacture. Labeling, separating and shipping batches of expiration-dated water to the Garden State seemed a little inefficient to bottled water producers, so most of them simply started giving every bottle a two-year expiration date, no matter where it was going.
Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has never established or suggested a limitation on the shelf life of bottled water as long as it’s produced in accordance with regulations and the bottle remains properly sealed. Makes sense, because it’s, you know…water. Even Dirty Jerz caught on to this fact and amended the law a few years ago. But the expiration date has been an industry norm for so long that many producers have just kept it on there.
While “expired” unopened bottled water isn’t going to do you any harm, it isn’t going to get better with age, either. The plastic that water is packaged in — usually polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for retail bottles and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) for water cooler jugs — is slightly porous, so the water can pick up smells and tastes from the outside world. Keep a case of bottled water in the basement for a year or so and it’s going to pick up some interesting flavors. There’s nothing better on a hot summer day than a 2007 Evian, with hints of dust and a crisp kitty litter finish!
I have to admit that I feel much more satisfied now that I have found the answer to yet another one of my many questions! That alone should show you just a little of how my twisted mind works!
Think I have too much time on my hands?
How about fresh coffee on the patio this morning! I have some freshly baked (yesterday) brownies to go along with it!