Sorry, Stockpilers: The Shelf Life Of A Twinkie Is Only About 25 Days

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The world is mourning the news that Hostess Brands Inc., maker of the iconic comfort sweets Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Snowball Cakes and Ho Hos, plans to shut down. As expected, social networks have spiraled into full-fledged panic mode, with nostalgic shoppers racing to stores to stockpile the plastic-wrapped snacks. After all, Twinkies basically last forever, right? 

It's a common urban legend that the "golden sponge cake with creamy filling" has an absurdly long shelf life--in Disney's WALL-E, a Twinkie is found completely undecayed, 700 years after the Earth is deemed uninhabitable. And once, a science teacher in Maine kept an unwrapped Twinkie atop his chalkboard for 30 years, telling the Associated Press, "It's rather brittle, but if you dusted it off, it's probably still edible."

But what's the actual shelf life of a Twinkie? Only about 25 days, according to Theresa Cogswell, former vice president for research and development at Hostess' parent company Interstate Bakeries Corp. In 2005, she told the Washington Post, "You can eat older Twinkies, but they're just not as good as when they're fresh. Then they're awesome." Still, as the newspaper noted, 25 days is still pretty darn impressive for a "baked" good, but then again, there's no dairy-based ingredients in them, only flour, sugar, oil, eggs and chemicals we can't pronounce.  

So if you must, go ahead and hoard those last boxes on the shelves--eating an old Twinkie probably, maybe won't kill you. But don't expect them to still be as tasty in the post-apocalyptic world. You're probably better off with Spam.  

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