Regardless of if you're a gourmet chef or if the extent of your cooking is to microwave frozen meals, chances are you have spices in your house. In fact, based on Census data and a Simmons National Consumer Survey, 300.62 million Americans used seasonings and spices in 2020, and McCormick, the largest spice manufacturer in the world, has a warning for them all.
Because most people don't go through their spices very quickly, seasonings wind up sitting on their shelves for years and that can be problematic. In a pair of Facebook posts, the company explained how to tell if your spices are too old... like way too old. Thankfully, it's not very hard to figure it out.
One of the easiest ways to tell if your spices are old is if they are housed in a rectangular tin or if they were packaged in Baltimore. If that's the case for you, congratulations, your seasoning has been around for over a quarter of a century.
If you're the owner of some old spices, don't worry, they aren't going to make you sick, but it's probably in your best interest to not use them anymore since they aren't going to be effective. When spices age, they lose their flavor so adding old spices to your dishes is pretty pointless.
McCormick recommends making sure your spices have a strong aroma and taste, as well as a vibrant color. It's also good practice to replace them every three years.