How long after drinking spoiled milk will I get sick?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long after drinking spoiled milk will I get sick” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of drinking spoiled milk. Moreover, we are going to discuss vulnerable populations.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long after drinking spoiled milk will I get sick?

The time it takes for the symptoms of food poisoning to appear after devouring spoiled milk depends mainly upon the quantity of the milk that you consumed. If you have drunk spoiled milk in large quantities then the symptoms of food poisoning will appear within 1-24 hours.

Drinking bad milk can put you at the risk of many food-borne illnesses, especially food poisoning. Drinking spoiled milk in a large quantity can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps.

A mild food poisoning lasts for about a day or two while a more persistent case of food poisoning can last for about 10 days.

  1. Diarrhea is an indication of the body that a certain obnoxious agent has entered. So consumption of expired or bacteria-laden milk often causes diarrhea. Therefore you should drink plenty of water to compensate for the water loss that the body experiences owing to diarrhea.
  1. Food poisoning after consuming bad milk is characterized by abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is also accompanied by vomiting and nausea in most cases.
  1. If you have consumed milk that has bacterial growth on it then you will experience nausea and vomiting which is the natural defense of the body to get rid of the unwanted harmful substance that has entered the body. Persistent vomiting can result in electrolyte imbalance in the body as well as it can lead to severe dehydration, dizziness, flushed skin, and weakness. It is advised to drink plenty of water to save the body from dehydration as severe dehydration can even lead to shock.
  1. Consuming milk that has gone bad will also raise your body temperature and you can experience fever which is the natural defense mechanism of your body and is the indicator that something is off with your body.

So in case you have devoured bad milk and are now suffering from vomiting and diarrhea,  you should try to drink as much water as possible so that while the body is getting rid of the toxins in form of diarrhea and vomiting, the water that you drink will protect your body against dehydration that vomiting can otherwise result in.

Moreover, the symptoms of severe and potentially life-threatening food poisoning involve diarrhea persisting for more than 3 days, fever higher than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, symptoms of severe dehydration, and bloody urine. In such a case, you should seek medical help immediately.

Vulnerable populations

No doubt that consuming spoiled milk will induce food poisoning in the individual that consumed it but some vulnerable populations are more prone to food poisoning if they consume bad milk. They are

  1. Elderly people especially those that are above the age of 65
  1. Children that are aged under 5 as their immune system is weak as compared to the adults
  1. Pregnant women
  1. Immunocompromised people have a very weak immune system and are already suffering from diseases like HIV or people that have recently got a transplant or have gone through surgery.

Therefore such people should take more care while consuming food and should always check if the milk they are going to consume is a good one or a spoiled one.

So what you can do to check your milk is to use your sense of sight and smell. In case lumps are present in the milk, you should discard such milk.

Moreover, if you spot a mold or an organic growth in the milk then it is an indication of bad milk.

Moreover, if you smell something foul or sour while taking a sniff test of your milk then it is an indication of bad milk and the best thing to do is to get rid of it.

Is milk safe to use after the best-before date?

The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the carton of milk refers to the quality rather than safety so the milk doesn’t necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date. 

This date refers to the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of milk but you can still use milk that is past this date as long as it was stored properly, there is no leakage in the carton and no signs of spoilage are present.

You can read the risks and potential uses of spoiled milk here.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long after drinking spoiled milk will I get sick” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of drinking spoiled milk. Moreover, we discussed vulnerable populations.


Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.