Can I drink expired milk?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can I drink expired milk?” and will discuss how long after the indicated expired date milk is safe to consume.

Can I drink expired milk?

Yes, you can drink expired milk. The National Science Foundation (NSF) reports that 78% of customers throw away milk and other dairy products after the expiration date on the label has passed. But the date on your milk doesn’t mean it’s unsafe to consume. Most milk can be used up to a week after the expiration date on the label.

What does your milk’s expiration date signify?

U.S. consumers squander approximately 20% of their food due to confusion about food dates. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the date labeling of food products, except for infant formula, which is one of the main reasons for this.

However, certain jurisdictions govern whether and how the expiration dates of milk should be labeled.

Because of this, your milk carton may include a variety of dates that do not reflect food safety:

·         Best before- If you want to get the most out of your milk, you should eat it by this date.

·         Sell by- By knowing when to sell milk to get the greatest quality, businesses may better manage their inventory.

·         Use by. When the product reaches this date, it will be at its best.

Because of this, the date on the product might give you an indication of when the quality will begin to deteriorate. What this means is your milk won’t be safe to consume beyond that date.

How long beyond the expiration date can milk be safely consumed?

Milk purchased from a grocery store in the United States has been pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process of boiling milk to kill potentially dangerous bacteria, such as E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella before it is sold. Milk’s shelf life is prolonged by 2–3 weeks by doing this. As a result, certain germs will continue to proliferate and cause milk to deteriorate.

Milk’s shelf life is strongly influenced by the temperature in your refrigerator, according to one research. A 9-day increase in shelf life was achieved by lowering the refrigerator temperature from 43°F to 39°F (4°C).

However, according to the majority of studies, unopened milk typically lasts 5–7 days over its expiration date when stored correctly, whereas opened milk lasts at least 2–3 days. Milk should never be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours unless it is shelf-stable, as this raises the risk of foodborne disease.

Contrarily, unpasteurized raw milk has a lower shelf life since it has not been heated. As a result, you may be more susceptible to foodborne diseases. In addition to unrefrigerated milk, there is shelf-stable milk, which uses ultra-heat treatment (UHT) to make it . As a result of UHT, unopened milk products may be safely stored at room temperature.

In a cold, dry pantry, unopened UHT milk can last 2–4 weeks beyond the stated date, and up to 1–2 months in the refrigerator. UHT milk, on the other hand, should be refrigerated and eaten within 7–10 days of opening.

The milk should constantly be inspected for symptoms of spoiling, such as a sour smell or a change in texture, regardless of the date given on the package.

How to extend the shelf life of your milk?

Even beyond the sell-by or best-by date, milk may still be good for a few more days. As long as it’s properly stored, you might still end up with spoilt milk.

What follows are a few methods for preventing milk from deteriorating quickly:

·         Place milk in the refrigerator as soon as possible after purchase, unless it is shelf-stable.

·         keep milk on an inner shelf in your fridge rather than a door shelf after use, and always seal and immediately return the milk carton to the fridge once you’ve finished drinking it.

·         Even though milk may be stored for up to three months, the freezing and thawing process can cause undesired changes in texture and color. As a result, it is safe to consume.

How can you know if milk is safe to drink?

You can know if your milk is safe by utilizing your senses instead of relying on the date on the carton. If your milk has gone bad, you will notice a change in scent.

Because of the lactic acid that has been generated by bacteria in spoiled milk, it has an unmistakable sour smell. A slightly yellow hue and lumpy texture are other indicators of rotting.

Expired milk can have negative health consequences

There’s no danger in taking one drink or two of spoiled milk. The consumption of moderate or high amounts, on the other hand, can lead to food poisoning and symptoms such as nauseousness, vomiting, stomach discomfort, and diarrhea. There should be a visit with your healthcare practitioner if your symptoms continue to develop or worsen, or if you begin to show indications of dehydration


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Can I drink expired milk?” and discussed how long after the indicated expired date milk is safe to consume.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.