The shelf life of shortening depends on the type of product that it is, but shortening does expire; for example unopened cans and shortening sticks have a shelf life that is about 2 years from the manufacturing date, while an opened can of shortening will last about a year, but shortening sticks will only last about 6 months. Key indicators of shortening are color, smell and taste. If any of these are off, the shortening has likely gone bad and should be discarded.
A manufacturing date will be printed somewhere on the can of shortening, such as on the bottom, while the sticks should have the date on the side of each stick's container. To ensure shortening's shelf life, store it in a cool, dry place, such as a kitchen pantry.