We get several calls a week regarding this topic. In almost all cases, the majority of the food was being stored in our original bag and the client was placing a smaller, daily supply of food in a more convenient plastic container.
Most plastic containers are porous and the oil from the food will adhere to the walls of the container and become rancid. When you add more food to the container, the new food is contaminated and rapidly becomes rancid as well. Cats are very sensitive to rancidity. The average person can detect rancidity at a level of 12-15, however your cat will stop eating at a rate of 4 and above.
The oil can become hardened on the walls of the plastic container and you will need to scrub it with a hard brush and plenty of soap and water every time you refill it. It is best to use a glass or ceramic container that is easier to clean. Make sure the container is completely dry before you refill it with food.
The disadvantage to using a hard container is that as the food is used, the
air space in the container increases and excess air will cause the food
to age more quickly. Light is also harmful to the freshness of the food, so always store in a cool, dark place.
If you use a ziploc bag to hold your weekly supply of food, simply change out the bag every two weeks to avoid rancidity. Be sure to burp all the air out of the bag before resealing it.
No matter what the expiration date is on a bag of food, it is highly recommended that once you open the bag that it gets used within four months. We recommend timing your food usage to every 60 days, this will afford you the best food freshness to keep your cats happy and healthy.