Why you shouldn't throw out that expired COVID test just yet
Editor's Note: Various varieties of at-home COVID-19 tests have also had their expiration dates extended by the FDA. Here are two additional resources:
The expiration date printed on your at-home COVID-19 test kits may not be accurate. Lost in the summer news cycle was the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an expiration date extension for the free tests offered by the federal government. These are the ones in the orange and white packaging as seen above.
The tests produced by iHealth Labs were granted a three month extension "based on the results of your ongoing stability studies," the FDA told iHealthin July 2022. That means, as of July, the tests are good for up to a year.
That same month, the company said, "We will continue to apply to (the) FDA for shelf-life extensions every three months based on our stability studies, and the new shelf-lives for our tests will apply to tests already produced as well as future production."
Some people have noticed the dates inside the test kits do not match the outside. In a statement to WVXU, the company says "This is because naturally each component/item has its own expiration date, but the expiration date printed on the box is determined by the item having the shortest shelf life. For our antigen tests, it’s the Test Cassette."
The company has a tool on its website to help you figure out the updated expiration date. All you'll need is the lot number on your packaging.
However, the company writes, "As of now, the shelf life of iHealth tests were extended to 12 months, making all our tests still valid to use."
In October, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Controlissued a release stating it had "determined that a limited number of the iHealth COVID-19 at-home test kits may have faulty result cartridges because of a manufacturer error. These may return inaccurate results, including an absent or very faint control line."
The agency says the affected lots are:
- 221CO20130 Exp: 7/29/2022
- 221CO20103 Exp: 7/2/2022
- 221CO20124 Exp: 7/23/2022
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