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Photo: New Africa (Shutterstock) I cleaned out my pantry over the weekend and it led to a lot of existential questions, mostly about sprinkles. In addition to my normal stash, which I’ve had for numerous holiday cookie decorating seasons, my sister gifted me an assortment of pastel eggs, lime green sugar, and other bonbons de décoration that she longer needed, in varying stages of use. At the time, I replied with an enthusiastic, “Thank you!” But now I realize I would’ve done better to pose a skeptical, “How old are these?” When I saw one batch of “holiday stars” sported a 2012 date (thanks, sis), I wondered: Do sprinkles and their holiday baking cohorts expire—and if so, when? Where pantry staples are concerned, I tend to regard expiration dates as suggestions—they’re called non-perishables for a reason. The FDA itself admits, “ most date labels are not based on exact science ” and they’re commonly provided by manufacturers “to inform consumers and retailers of the date up to which they can expect the food to retain its desired quality and flavor.” So maybe it won’t taste as good, but that’s a far cry from actually making you sick. Many dates say “Best by” not “Eat by this date or you will surely die.” Also, it’s mostly sugar, so how much can it really spoil? Let’s find out. Do sprinkles expire? The simple answer is: Sort of—and when they do, they expire very slowly. They do contain colorants and other additives, […]