My Mayo Exploded!

This jar of exploding mayonnaise serves as a reminder why one should pay attention to the “sell-by” dates on the sides of packages. Submitter Doug writes:

Yesterday my mother went to open a new jar of Stop and Shop light mayonnaise. After she unscrewed the cap the contents started bubbling out from under the seal. She removed the seal and the result is what you see here. We took it back to the store, where they apologized and replaced it with the non-exploding kind.

You can see in the picture that the jar is six months past its sell-by date. UPDATE: Oops, we’re stupid, that’s the year 2008. Damn, there’s no reason for this mayo to go unless maybe that’s a misprint. Why would it explode, though? Bacteria get inside and cause a gaseous buildup? We’re betting heavy on “compromised seal.” Full-size pics inside…

tallmayo.jpgOMG MAYO GO BOOM!


Edit Your Comment

  1. warf0x0r says:

    Mayonaise, BLECH!!!!

  2. jacques says:

    Looks like it’s March 31 ’08, not ’07….

  3. Bill Brasky says:

    Looks to me like the “sell by” date was march 31, 08.

    Am I misreading?

  4. humphrmi says:

    If those pictures don’t make you stop buying Mayonaise, I don’t know what will.

  5. Anonymous says:

    March 31st of ’08? That’s not out of date. I’m even more mystified as to how this could happen.

  6. greatgoogly says:

    hmmm, it doesn’t look like this was past its expiration date. From the photo I’m reading the “best buy” date was “March 31, 08”. So the mystery deepens!

  7. ChrisC1234 says:

    Oh that makes me just want to puke. I don’t like mayonnaise already, but that is just disgusting.


  8. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    Hey Ben,

    Thanks for posting all those yummy-looking photos right before lunchtime. I’ll definitely lose weight if I don’t have an appetite. ;-)

  9. bnet41 says:

    Yea, that’s ’08 on there unless I am missing something.

    It wouldn’t have surprised me if it was an ’07 though. When I worked in a grocery store, I would spend hours in my section(meat) trying to get all the expired stuff off the shelfs, and would still miss stuff. Always be mindful of the dates. Most stores do a pretty good job, but no one is perfect.

  10. dlab says:

    If you must have mayo, make your own. Throw 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice and an egg into your blender at the LOWEST possible speed, then drizzle in a stream of olive oil AS SLOWLY as you possibly can (if you add it too quickly, you will break the emulsion and end up with something completely disgusting). Can’t really say how much oil to use other than you will be able to tell when you’ve added enough — it will look like mayonnaise. At this point, add salt + pepper + whatever else you want (season to taste). I like cilantro in mine.

  11. homerjay says:

    This wouldn’t have happened if she just read the label. I can see right there under “Contains Soy, Eggs” it says “Contents may explode. When opening, hold jar away from face.”

  12. hills says:

    Bonus – 20% more mayo for free!

  13. EnderVR46 says:

    That’s not mayo, that’s “The Stuff”.


  14. Beerad says:

    I’m voting for bacterial contamination. Not sure what botulism looks like, and I’d be surprised if it had such a, uh, violent manisfestation. But definitely not anything I’d risk spreading on my sammich.

  15. satoru says:

    Mayonaise is great but it’s so much better if you just make it yourself. The store bought stuff tastes so awful in comparison. Of course the flip side is that because its composed of almost 100% fat it basically goes rancid very quickly.

    I think even store bought mayonaise goes bad fairly quickly on a relative basis compared to other products like ketchup or mustard.

    I’m not sure as to why the jar would be bubbling since the article states that it was a new jar not a previously opened one that had been sitting in the fridge for some time. I would expect it to begin separating not bubbing over if it was expired.

  16. Namilia says:

    I’m not surprised either. When I worked in a grocery store, I noticed a great deal of the luncheon meats from a particular vendor were all out of date. After notifying my manager, she said we couldn’t do anything about it because “it is a vendor stocked item, the best we can do is notify the vendor.It is up to them if they want to replace it or not.” Vendor didn’t pull the expired meat (now about 3 weeks past date), and the store ended up pulling it anyways.

    I guess that’s a commissary for you, though.

    This is interesting though. As in, disgusting interesting. Since it isn’t even past its sell by date, why would it explode? Will we be seeing a massive mayo recall coming up? Stay tuned…

  17. rmz says:

    You’d think that simply emulsifying eggs and oil together could only turn out well, but somehow two such wonderful ingredients result in something so foul as mayonnaise.

    I’m not a fan.

  18. wring says:


  19. Amelie says:

    Just because the bottle is new, doesn’t mean the seal been compromised at some point. Obviously no one here has taken a home ec class.

  20. babaki says:

    i find it hilarious this got posted under the preface that we should check sell by dates, when the picture clearly shows 08.

  21. Yourhero88 says:

    Does this mean they are going to start checking condiment jars at the airport now?

  22. Namilia says:

    @zouxou: I tried for three years in highschool to get into the home ec class and every year they said ‘no.’ Damnit…

    Anyways, we don’t know for sure if the seal was compromised because of the gas buildup, or if it caused it. Either is possible, and the company would probably have to inspect or something to ensure that this did not happen to other jars from the same lot. The fact they were able to trade for a non-exploding jar is promising, though.

  23. Shadowman615 says:

    Maybe the date on the label was referring to 1908?

  24. JuliusJefferson says:

    Miracle Whip ftw

  25. Veeber says:

    Just please don’t feed that homemade mayo to pregnant ladies or those with compromised immune systems. Either that or make sure you buy pasturized eggs.

  26. Amelie says:

    @Namilia: It was a tongue-in-cheek comment as I know that most schools no longer even offer it. Since the problem appears to be limited to one jar, I would say it has to do with the seal.

  27. azntg says:

    Maybe the explosion is a result of anaerobic bacterial fermentation inside the mayo jar (assuming the jar was properly sealed the first time)? Damn, I don’t think I can have mayo with my food for a while now…

  28. vanilla-fro says:

    @hillsrovey: 120% mayo in a 100% jar. maybe that extra 20% caused the explosion.

  29. dlab says:

    @Chris Vee:

    I guess pregnant women should avoid the unpasteurized eggs, just like they should avoid everything that is unpasteurized just to be on the safe side.

    Then again, what good did pasteurization do for Stop and Shop’s Light Mayonnaise? If we had to pick, I’d still give a pregnant woman my homemade mayo before giving her the stuff pictured above :-)

  30. olderbudwizer says:

    Those bananas in the background aren’t looking none too good either.

  31. Namilia says:

    @zouxou: I figured as much, and its unfortunate most schools don’t. Mine limited it to only 9th-11th graders, and had very limited availability. And good point..I really hope that is the only can with a compromised seal too, heh.

  32. BoorRichard says:

    My guess: pop rocks. You can’t mix them with mayo.

  33. RandomHookup says:

    If you ever want to see what can happen to food, volunteer at a big food bank in the salvage room sometime. Nothing like an assembly line of soon-to-explode jars and cans.

  34. SaraAB87 says:

    I learned the hard way that mayo does not take well to freezers, when our fridge broke and we were frantically tossing all the food into the larger freezer in our house to preserve it a jar of mayo got tossed into the freezer, it didn’t look too pretty when it came out, so we tossed it. It wasn’t a full jar so I cannot comment on the explosion factor but my guess is that this jar was frozen at some point and possibly thawed before it was opened, and when it was opened it exploded. The mayo coming from this jar doesn’t look quite right either. The mayo could have gotten frozen if a customer decided they didn’t want it and ditched it in a freezer in the frozen section.

  35. Hoss says:

    It’s “Light” Mayonaise. This one’s really, really light…

  36. Anonymous says:

    lets not leave mayo packets exempt from this either. they will explode through the wrapper.

  37. FromThisSoil says:

    That’s disgusting. Imagine the mess!

  38. SabrinaFaire says:

    Gosh that’s almost enough to make me stop eating Mayo. Almost. I’ll forget about it by tomorrow though.

  39. Ryuuie says:

    @olderbudwizer: Bananas actually taste a LOT better when they’re brown like that due to the natural sugars releasing. Sure, they don’t look pretty and yellow, but they taste awesome and sweet.

    And that mayo looks nasty. D: It’s like…a cloud of disgustingness. However, I learned how to make homemade “mayo” from this page. Rock on.

  40. topgun says:

    Cool. Volcanic Mayo. What will they think of next. Would go great with that purple ketchup Heinz makes.
    Pass the bread please.

  41. LAGirl says:

    @warf0x0r: exactly!! mayo is NASTY.

  42. LetMeGetTheManager says:

    Give me a spoon and I’ll eat the rest like pudding…

    Or maybe dip bread in?

  43. Holly says:

    There are very few things I won’t eat, but mayo, Twinkies, and beef liver are high on the list. Mayo and Twinkies for opposite reasons, of course: one goes bad without warning, the other is so full of preservatives it’s likely to retain its form until the next Ice Age. Neither being especially tasty or good for you, I’ll pass. Food should be ONE or the other.

  44. Starfury says:

    At least it didn’t start crawling (oozing?) across the table and try to eat someone.

  45. dlab says:


    I resent your use of quotes when you talk about homemade mayo. I guess technically it is a type of aioli since it uses the egg white (although it would need garlic to really be aioli).

    Or could you be implying that it isn’t really mayonnaise since it isn’t that processed garbage?

  46. valkin says:

    @dlab: I also make my mayo with cilantro. Aww yeah!

  47. Ryuuie says:

    @dlab: Because it’s technically a type of aioli. Also, the other reason too. When most people think of mayonnaise, they think of the horrid processed crap.

    Maybe it’s just me and my weird way of naming things, but I’d rather call it aioli than “mayo”. Would you really want your hard-earned homemade concoction to be associated with something disgusting as mayonnaise?

  48. jaffa-cake says:

    I understand a brown banana is sweeter, but is it really safe to leave a half eaten one to lay out? If so, the fruit flies will feast tonight.

  49. Ryuuie says:

    @jaffa-cake: Yea, I’d probably have the half-eaten banana wrapped up in something. The rest are okay though.

  50. rg says:

    I guess that’s what happens when you buy off-brand food. Yuck!
    I had a zit that did that once.

  51. LucyInTheSky says:



  52. Rachacha says:

    Kinda looks like “Great Stuff” expanding foam. New marketing campaign for Stop and Shop focused at the construction worker “Our Light Mayonayse used to help fill your stomach, and that large gaping hole between the wall and that window you just installed”. Now if they could only find a way to package it in a spray can like Redi-whip.

  53. thats just nasty. I was planning on “taking care of myself” after doing the gawker roundup, but I’m having some serious second thoughts.

    screw it. I’ll just shower and watch TV

  54. aro says:

    it wouldn’t be bad if it was a container of marshmallow fluff – yum! mayo is gross though.

  55. dlab says:


    Well, I’d like to re-claim the term.

  56. Havok154 says:

    Damn it, now I’m hungry.

  57. *goes to the kitchen*
    i had a ketchup bottle that did this one time. maybe it is bad that i ate from it? this was like 8 years ago, but the ketchup was fine… probably some kind of air bubble / air pressure buildup.

  58. mwshook says:

    Once in a restaurant, my friend sitting next to me had ketchup explode in his face as he was opening it. The ketchup had obviously fermented and smelled strongly of alcohol. I often see waiters combining half-full ketchup bottles, so they always have a full one to give to customers. My guess is this bottle had been re-used for far too long.

  59. magus_melchior says:

    Looks like there’s gas bubbles inside the jar, which suggests fermentation (the bad kind). Either that, or someone at the factory thought “sodium bicarbonate” was Latin for salt.

  60. DePaulBlueDemon says:

    My boyfriend’s stepfather has a can of apricot juice in his pantry that is about to explode at the seams. I keep insisting that it belongs in the trash and probably infested with botulism, but he won’t listen.