What happens if you drink expired milk? (don’t panic)

In this article, we will answer the following question: What happens if you drink expired milk? We tell you how to identify out of date milk, how to properly store it, and the side effects of consuming expired milk. 

What happens if you drink expired milk?

If you happen to consume milk that has expired, it will disturb your gastrointestinal system. The side effects can include:

  • Stomach pain 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea

Drinking expired milk is a serious health risk since you can suffer from food poisoning due to the proliferation of bacteria inside the container. Remember that raw milk can contain salmonella, Escherichia coli, streptococci, campylobacter, and even the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and other diseases.

When pasteurized, many of these pathogens die and the milk increases its shelf life. But when it is damaged, there is the possibility that some of these germs will develop again, putting those who dare to drink it at risk.

In a large number of cases, consumers have found that the milk in their refrigerators remains fresh despite a few days after its expiration date. This in any case is a situation that only occurs when the product is properly handled and kept well refrigerated and handled with the care and hygiene that should be taken for foods as delicate as dairy.

However, if milk is handled incorrectly, the opposite effect can occur, that is, it is damaged long before its expiration date and becomes a risk to our health.

Food poisoning from drinking expired milk can be so mild that you don’t even know you have it, but in some cases, it can be serious.

Symptoms of food poisoning from drinking expired milk are stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, or fever. This condition can last for hours or days, and you may begin to feel the effects as soon as 2 hours after drinking the bad milk.

How to tell if milk is expired?

It is relatively easy to tell if the milk is bad, before or after its expiration date, since a bad smell usually appears in the box or when you take a sip, enough sign that something is wrong.

An unusual texture or the separation of the whey and milk solids inside the container is another clue that indicates that it has already started to break down.

The date of expiration of milk and milk products

The governing bodies of the food area, manufacturers, and associations of dairy consumers around the world recommend buying only the amount of milk that is considered sufficient for the immediate needs of the family group or consumer.

In addition, you should try to buy products that are very close to their production date and well away from the estimated expiration date, to guarantee a greater margin of freshness.

If this milk is handled correctly, it is even very likely that its useful or viable life will extend even a week after the expiration date.

If the milk develops a bad smell or a strange taste, it should be thrown away.

Some people freeze milk to drink water, but doing so damages the chemical composition of the product and can affect its taste and texture when thawed.

How to keep milk fresh and risk-free?

To keep milk fresh for as long as possible, the Dairy Products Council of the state of California, in the United States, recommends keeping it refrigerated at a temperature of 3 to 4.5 degrees Celsius.

The low temperature helps slow the growth of bacteria. In addition, keeping the milk in its original container with the lid tightly closed also helps slow spoilage. Don’t let it sit on the counter for a long time, and never dump the milk back into the original container once you’ve served it in a glass or other container.

These tips are essential if you have children, who are more vulnerable to gastrointestinal infections than adults.  When this is done, the possibility of introducing external pathogens into the package is greatly increased.

Other FAQs about Milk which you may be interested in.

Can you Freeze Coconut Milk?

Why doesn’t milk separate?

Does breast milk curdle?

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.


In this article, we answered the following question: What happens if you drink expired milk? 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 remain 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!


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.

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.