How long does an unopened package of cream cheese remain good to eat?

We checked the food storage guidelines of two agricultural universities and found a range of 2-4 weeks. 

Kraft says the company’s Philadelphia cream cheese, stored at or slightly below 40°F, is good for 1 month past the “best when purchased by” date.

How long cream cheese will last depends upon the processing method. (The “hot pack” method kills more bacteria than “cold pack” processing, so the product lasts longer, 3-6months.)  

There are even cream cheese products that are shelf stable (no refrigeration necessary) until opened. Alaska Seafood and Wildgame’s Lobster Spread is shelf stable for 3 years.

Dr. Rani Govindasamy-Lucey, senior scientist, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, University of Wisconsin
Basil T. Maglaris, Senior Manager, Corporate Affairs, Kraft Foods Inc.
Alaska Seafood and Wildgame website
Texas Agricultural Extension Service “Safe Home Food Storage”
Virginia Cooperative Extension “Food Storage Guidelines for Consumers: Recommended Food Storage Chart”


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