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Do Starbursts Expire?

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Maybe you have a craving for some sugar, and you just walked by the old Halloween candy bucket tucked away in your kitchen. You see some lovely dark chocolates and some white chocolates, but that is not really what you are after. 

You keep digging and find some gummy candy, sit it to the side, and find some soft candies. One of your favorite treats is Starbursts. You see a handful and grab them with every intention of eating them. 

Before you go to open them, though, you realize that the expiration date printed on the package has come and gone. Oops…

But do Starbursts expire? Yes, Starbursts do expire eventually, but the expiration date is only a marker of when the freshness and taste will begin to deteriorate. Stored correctly, however, they can last 1-2 years.

In this article, we’ll explain all there is to know about expiration dates on Starbursts so you won’t have to learn the hard way.

Do Starbursts Expire?

Starbursts are a candy made by MARS. Mars handles all the packaging and manufacturing of its many different kinds of sweets, including Starbursts.

While the company does not put an expiration date on their candy, they do put a freshness date. 

This freshness date is typically one year post when the candy is shipped. MARS tells us that this candy is best and freshest when enjoyed within one year of it leaving the manufacturing facility. 

While Starbursts may be consumed after this freshness date, the company seems to believe that it is going to taste the best for their consumer within one year. 

However, under certain circumstances, Starbursts may go bad before that or even last longer. 

If the candy looks discolored, moldy, or overly dry when it comes out of the package, then chances are it may have been sitting around too long.

When a product sits around too long, it begins to break down. This means that the flavor of the candy fades over time. Also, as the candy hardens inside the package, it becomes more challenging to get to the candy itself. 

Look at the following list to see what can help you determine if Starbursts are bad or are okay to eat and how you can decide if a particular batch of Starbursts is worth eating.


Sometimes when candy is stored improperly, you will find that the texture is off. It could be rough, and it may seem like something is crystalizing on it. If you notice this grainy texture, it is best to say away from these candies. 

Gummy candy will typically have a soft feel to it as well. Starbursts are naturally on the harder side but considered softer candies, but if it feels as though you would not be able to bite into them, steer clear. 

Candy softness is a big indicator of the freshness of the candy. 


Starbursts are generally bright and fun colors. If you open up a Starburst and it has discoloration, such as a white coating, a good rule of thumb is to throw it out. 

The discoloration could be mold, and that is not something you want to ingest. That can cause stomach discomfort and even food poisoning. So be mindful if the coloring seems off. 


The smell of candy can give it away. Usually, when you open a candy up, especially a starburst, you will smell a nice fruity flavor. If you don’t smell anything, it could indicate that the shelf life is past.

If you open up the candy and there is no scent, it may just need to be thrown away because it’s old. 


Starbursts are going to have a pleasant and full fruity flavor. If anything about the taste seems off, tossing the candy out is a good idea. If there is a bitter or sour taste, try for another piece. 

Another way to tell if you should toss your Starbursts is if you feel they have gone stale. You want to avoid eating any type of candy that feels gritty or crunchy in your mouth.

If that happens, then it was probably stored incorrectly and may have expired. 

What Happens If You Eat Expired Starburst?

Food scientists put a lot of research into making a sustainable candy that will last in many different spaces. While some conditions can lead to shorter shelf lives, candy is one of those things that can last for years. 

If you are worried about your Starbursts going bad, you should keep them in a cool, dry place and check them every few months. You should also avoid storing them in areas with high humidity. This will extend the lifespan of your candies.

You might experience some digestive issues, which may not taste as great, and you could experience stomach upset. But typically, eating an expired candy will pose no health concerns. 

Keep in mind that as candy deteriorates, it could begin to grow mold that you do not want in your body.

In general, if you buy Starbursts that are already expired or find some old ones in your cabinet, you are better off throwing them away than consuming them. 

How Long Does Candy Last After The Expiration Date?

There are two types of expiration dates. The first one is called the “Use by” date. This tells you how long you can use a product before it starts to go wrong.

These expiration dates are often marked on the package, so you know precisely how long what you’re buying will last. 

The second type of expiration date is called the sell-by date. The sell-by date indicates how much time you should consume this item within the packaging. For example, if you buy a box of cookies, the sell-by date would say three days from purchase.

If your cookie expires at the end of the day, you still have two more days left for consumption. In this case, you should treat it like any other edible and finish it off. Otherwise, you’ll just waste money.

Remember, MARS uses manufacturing dates, so always check the packaging! 

How Can You Increase The Shelf Life Of Starbursts?

You can increase the shelf life of your candy by being sure you store it correctly. If it comes in an open bag, storing it in an airtight container is a great option. Keeping your lid on your candy dish can also help ensure longer-lasting candy. 

You should try to keep your Starbursts in the coolest room possible. Although they won’t spoil immediately, keeping them too hot will cause their sugar content to break down.

To store your Starbursts properly, try placing them in the back of your pantry or cabinet, where they will stay cold and dry. Also, make sure to keep them in airtight containers. You want to keep this stuff as fresh as possible. 


Candy lasts anywhere from 6 months to a year. Most stores recommend consuming your candy within 4 weeks (or less) of opening. Some people throw out their candy after a month.

The best thing to do is follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for whatever you bought. 

Starbursts are delicious and fun treats, but they don’t last forever. However, you can prolong the life of these tasty candies by following a few simple guidelines. Keep your candy in a cool, dry area and check it regularly.

Store it in an airtight, sealed container to protect against moisture. And remember: It’s never a good idea to eat something that has passed its expiration date.

Related Questions

What happens if your Starbursts are past their freshness date?

You may notice some changes in the original makeup of the candy-like texture, color, and smell. 

What is a stale starburst?

A stale Starburst will have weird textures. It may seem gritty or really sticky and hard to chew. 

What is the expiration date?

MARS gives their candies a 1-year post-manufacturing freshness date. 

How long do Starbursts last?

Stored in the right conditions, Starbursts can taste good for 1-2 years. 

What happens if you eat old candy? 

The candy may not taste good and will have a strange taste and feel, but also, as you do not consume mold, nothing will happen if you eat old candy. On a rare occasion, someone may experience some stomach discomfort. 

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