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 We teach you how to identify out of date milk, how to properly store it, and the side effects of consuming expired milk.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. (1)
How long milk last?
Once milk is unpacked, it is important to consume it within a specific timeframe to ensure its freshness and safety.
When stored in the refrigerator at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in an air-tight container or bottle, open milk, whether it is whole, skim, or reduced-fat, can generally remain fresh for about 4 to 7 days before spoiling.
The shelf life of unopened milk varies depending on its type. Whole milk typically maintains its freshness for approximately 5 to 7 days, while reduced-fat and skim milk can last for about 7 days.
Non-fat and lactose-free milk have a slightly longer shelf life, lasting for about 7 to 10 days beyond the printed date, as long as they are stored properly in the refrigerator at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is important to note that the way milk is stored can affect its safety for consumption. If open milk has been stored at room temperature for more than 2 hours (or more than 1 hour if the temperature exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit), it is advisable to discard it.
Bacteria thrive between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and there is a risk of milk being contaminated with bacteria under such conditions. (2-4)
What factors affect milk shelf life?
The way milk is stored and the temperatures it is exposed to have a critical impact on how long it remains safe for consumption.
If milk is mishandled, stored at improper temperatures, or kept for inadequate durations, it can become contaminated with harmful microorganisms, posing significant public health concerns.
In regions with tropical climates, where transportation, storage, or retail facilities may lack sufficient refrigeration capabilities, bacteria cells have an opportunity to recover after being exposed to heat due to favorable temperatures.
Consequently, there is an elevated risk of recontamination of processed milk even after heat treatment, primarily due to poor hygiene practices.
The number of bacteria present in milk, and therefore its overall shelf life, is greatly influenced by both the temperatures at which it is stored and the methods employed for storage.
It is crucial to adhere to proper storage practices to ensure milk remains safe and suitable for consumption. (5)
How to know if the milk is bad?
Determining whether milk is considered “spoiled” can be subjective, as interpretations can vary from person to person.
Interestingly, certain dairy products like cheeses with mold or fermented yogurts may be avoided by some individuals, while others actively seek them out.
While establishing a definitive and universally accepted definition of “spoilage” is challenging, there is a general consensus among consumers and manufacturers regarding certain indicators.
These indicators commonly include off-flavors, changes in color, and alterations in the usual texture associated with spoilage.
For instance, specific characteristics such as an “acidic aftertaste,” “chalky mouthfeel,” or “sourness” can serve as examples of milk spoilage. These sensory changes can often signal that milk has undergone spoilage.(6)
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 . (7)
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. (4)
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.(1)
What are the Health implications of drinking spoiled milk?
Consuming spoiled milk can lead to various health issues, ranging from stomach discomfort to severe bacterial poisoning or gastroenteritis (a form of food poisoning caused by different bacteria such as salmonella).
The most common symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhea, stomach pain or cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever.
The specific symptoms experienced can vary depending on the type of contamination, which can occur due to changes in the milk’s original composition, improper manufacturing processes, or incorrect storage conditions.
While there is a wide range of microorganisms that contribute to the spoilage of milk and dairy products, certain bacteria can pose a significant risk of causing severe illness in consumers.
In most cases of food poisoning resulting from spoiled milk, the body can recover on its own. However, it may take a few days to fully recuperate from the discomfort.
It is advisable to drink plenty of fluids to combat dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea, which are common symptoms of food poisoning. (6, 8)
Other FAQs about Milk which you may be interested in.
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.
- Adda Bjarnadottir, Kelli McGrane, How Long Is Milk Good for After the Expiration Date? Them. Healthline Media LLC. 2020.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://ask.usda.gov/ Website. Washington, DC. What is the “2 Hour Rule” with leaving food out?.
- Buehler, A. J., Martin, N. H., Boor, K. J., & Wiedmann, M. Psychrotolerant spore-former growth characterization for the development of a dairy spoilage predictive model. Journal of Dairy Science, 101(8), 6964–6981. 2018.
- Lacroix, M., Bon, C., Bos, C., Léonil, J., Benamouzig, R., Luengo, C., Gaudichon, C. Ultra High Temperature Treatment, but Not Pasteurization, Affects the Postprandial Kinetics of Milk Proteins in Humans. The Journal of Nutrition, 138(12), 2342–2347. 2008.
- Adda Bjarnadottir, Kelli McGrane, How Long Is Milk Good for After the Expiration Date? Them. Healthline Media LLC. 2020
- Lu, M., & Wang, N. S. Spoilage of Milk and Dairy Products. The Microbiological Quality of Food, 151–178. 2017.
- Macdonald LE, Brett J, Kelton D, Majowicz SE, Snedeker K, Sargeant JM. 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. J Food Prot; 74(11):1814-32. 2011.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. Food Poisoning Symptoms 2022.