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No, water does not expire, though it can become contaminated

IN SHORT: A post claims that the water we drink has an expiry date. But this is not true. Properly stored water can last for a long time, although the taste might change.

A post on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, claims that the water we drink expires. 

The 5 September 2023 post reads: “Breaking News: Are you aware the water we drink has an expiry date?” 

The post features a photo of three different brands of water in sachets and bottles.

But can this type of water product expire? We investigated. 

WaterExpire_False

Water doesn’t expire

The water we drink comes from different sources, whether purified or not. We get water from private wells or boreholes and public water systems. 

However, it is important to note that water can get contaminated, which then makes it unsafe to drink. When it isn’t stored properly, it can get contaminated by fertilisers, pesticides or other chemicals.

Foodsafety.gov, a US agency dedicated to providing food safety information, told Verify that “water will store indefinitely, though the taste may be impacted by storage conditions, including sunlight, items stored around it and the containers being used to store it”. 

In the US, a law in the state of New Jersey required bottled water to have an expiry date of two years from the day it was bottled. That law was revoked in 2004. 

According to the New York state’s Department of Health, many manufacturers still give their bottles two-year expiration dates. But this is mainly in order to preserve the taste, and only applies to water bottles that have not been opened and have been properly stored.

Water stored in containers at home should be replaced every six months, according to the US’s public health agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The International Bottle Water Association recommends that water should be stored at “room temperature or cooler, out of direct sunlight and away from solvents and chemicals such as petrol, paint thinners, household cleaners and dry cleaning chemicals”.

Despite these recommendations, water has no expiration date and, when stored properly, it is safe for drinking and cooking for years.

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