Can you drink milk 2 days after the expiration date?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Can you drink milk 2 days after the expiration date? We teach you how to identify out of date milk, how to properly store it, and the side effects of consuming expired milk. 

Can you drink milk 2 days after the expiration date?

You can drink a mild 2 days after the expiration date if it doesn’t look or smell different. The date you’ll find stamped on a milk bottle or carton is the “consume before” date, and the milk inside might still be fine for days after that date. However, if the milk is processed improperly or stored in the refrigerator past the expiration date, the chances of turning sour increase.

Canned milk will keep for up to a week after opening if placed in a fridge. If the milk has not yet been opened, you can keep it until the expiration date or the best before the date written on the bottle or box. On the other hand, for powdered milk, it can be stored for up to 6 months in a dry place away from any source of heat.

Most bacteria are killed by heat when milk is pasteurized (UHT). It is nonetheless possible for the milk to become contaminated after its pasteurization, but even under clean conditions, some devious bacteria survive processing. These heat-resistant bacteria are usually responsible for spoiling milk beyond the expiration date on the package. Several different types of heat-resistant bacteria exist. 

The expiration date of milk

In many cases, the confusion of expiration dates leads consumers to dispose of food sooner than we should. In large part, this happens because the food management entity does not regulate the labeling of every product, with the exception of infant formulas.

In addition, the dates that appear on the products may undergo modifications depending on the area in which they are produced; therefore, there is no universal indicator for milk. What you can find are different dates, of which none ensures the safety of the product:

Preferred consumption: this date indicates when to consume the milk to obtain the best quality.

Date of sale: this can help the organization of the product in the inventory to know when to sell it.

Consume before: this date indicates the last day that a product is good for consumption.

All these indicators can give you an idea of when to consume your product. However, it does not mean that when your milk expires it immediately becomes unsafe for consumption.

How to know if the milk is bad?

In most countries, milk is pasteurized and then distributed, this means that the product is put through a process that involves heating the milk to the point of destruction of different harmful bacteria such as E. coli, listeria, and salmonella. Experts say that by doing all this, the life of the milk is extended by 2 to 3 more weeks (Macdonald et al., 2011).

Unfortunately, pasteurization cannot kill all bacteria, and those that survive continue to grow causing the milk to spoil after a while. In fact, a study has found that the temperature of your refrigerator affects how long your milk lasts after its expiration date. In fact, if you lower the temperature from 6 ° to 4 °, your milk gets 9 more days of duration (Buehler, Martin, Boor and Wiedmann, 2018).

How to properly store milk?

It is suggested that, as long as the storage conditions are appropriate, unopened milk can remain suitable for 5-7 days after its expiration date, while open milk lasts only 2 to 3 days after that date. In addition, milk should not be left at room temperature for a period longer than 2 hours, unless it is a safe type of product to stay that way, since you can risk contracting a foodborne illness.

In fact, there is milk without the need for refrigeration, usually called aseptic or long-life milk. Experts assure that it is produced using an ultra-heat method similar to pasteurization, but with a higher temperature. This makes the products produced safe to leave at room temperature (Lacroix et al., 2008).

Long-life milk can generally last 2-4 weeks past its expiration date if you keep it in a cool, dry place. If you want to keep it in the fridge, it will last 1 to 2 months. However, if you open the package, it should be consumed within the next 7-10 days and stored in the refrigerator.

However, always remember to make sure if your product is safe to consume through smell and its texture, beyond just looking at its expiration date.

How to make your milk carton last longer

  • Unless it’s room temperature milk, put your product in the refrigerator as soon as possible.
  • Keep your refrigerator temperature between 3 ° and 4 °.
  • Store the milk on a shelf inside the refrigerator instead of the refrigerator door.
  • After using it, close the package tightly and return it to the fridge.
  • You can also freeze the milk, this way it can last up to 3 months, although when defrosting it there may be a change in its color and texture. However, it is safe to consume.

How do you know if your carton of milk is safe to drink?

The best way to find out is to use your senses (smell and sight) to notice any signs of a change in the product. Bad milk has a particular odor, due to the lactic acid produced by the bacteria. Another indication is the yellow color and the lumpy texture.

Side effects of expired milk

Do not worry. If you accidentally drank some milk out of date, nothing will happen to you. Although, if you have ingested a moderate or large amount, you may experience food poisoning symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach aches, and diarrhea. If these problems persist or worsen, it would be best to consult a doctor to obtain the appropriate care.

Conclusions

In this article, we answered the following question: Can you drink milk 2 days after the expiration date? We taught you how to identify out of date milk, how to properly store it, and the side effects of consuming expired milk. 

We remind you that in most cases you can drink milk after its expiration date, as long as its color, smell, and consistency remains the same. A study has found that the temperature of your refrigerator affects how long your milk lasts after its expiration date. In fact, if you lower the temperature from 6 ° to 4 °, your milk gets 9 more days of duration.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

References

Buehler, A. J., Martin, N. H., Boor, K. J., and Wiedmann, M. (2018). Psychrotolerant spore-former growth characterization for the development of a dairy spoilage predictive model. Journal of dairy science. doi: 10.3168 / jds.2018-14501

Lacroix, M., Bon, C., Bos, C., Léonil, J., Benamouzig, R., Luengo, C.… Gaudichon, C. (2008). Ultra high-temperature treatment, but not pasteurization, affects the postprandial kinetics of milk proteins in humans. The journal of nutrition. doi: 10.3945 / jn.108.096990.

Macdonald, L. E., Brett, J., Kelton, D., Majowicz, S. E., Snedeker, K. and Sargeant, J. M. (2011). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of pasteurization on milk vitamins, and evidence for raw milk consumption and other health-related outcomes. Journal of food protection. doi: 10.4315 / 0362-028X.

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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.

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