Oregon State University Extension Service

How long until cheese spoils?

We received by mail, a cheese basket. It was room temperature, and apparently had been for at least a day. We put it in the fridge. Is it safe to eat?

If this is a commercial product, check with the business that prepared and shipped it. They should have guidelines and may have packed select products for shipping that are safe if allowed to reach room temperature for a short time. You may also be able to reach the manufacturer of each product. They would have specific recommendations.

General cheese safety rules

  • Hard cheeses: These should be safe if still in their sealed packaging. These include cheddar, Colby, Swiss, parmesan, provolone and Romano. These cheeses develop acidity during aging and are pretty resistant to food-borne pathogens.
  • Soft cheeses: Soft cheeses are a much greater risk if left at room temperature. These are items like brie, bleu, camembert, cream, Monterey jack, ricotta and mozzarella.
  • Shredded or cubed cheeses: These cheeses are also a greater risk because they have been handled and possibly exposed to contaminants that could have grown while warm. We recommend discarding these. The exceptions are grated hard cheese, like parmesan or Romano, which should be safe. There is little moisture in these products to allow bacteria growth to occur.

Source URL: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/ask-extension/featured/how-long-until-cheese-spoils