How Long is Milk Good for?

Milk can be used to produce soups, baked dishes, and pancakes. However, before using milk, you should know its shelf life. It is recommended to throw away your milk if it has gone sour. The United States Department of Agriculture states that milk is left. Taking food for more than two hours without refrigeration is spoilt and should not be consumed.

Use your senses to determine whether or not your milk is old if you need help telling. Spoiled foods have an unpleasant texture, flavor, and odor. Several days after its expiration date, milk is still safe to eat. Food and beverage goods’ expiration dates are related to their quality rather than their safety. Even though drinking spoilt milk might make you sick, you can usually detect when milk is bad.

How Long is Milk Good For (2)

How Long is Milk Good for?

While there are no set guidelines, most research indicates that unopened milk typically lasts at least two to three days after this date. Whereas unopened milk lasts 5-7 days past its indicated date. Provided it has been stored properly.

After it has passed its sell-by date, pasteurized milk is still safe to drink for two to five days because all harmful germs have been destroyed during the pasteurization process. The residual bacteria can still contaminate the milk because the method only partially eradicates all bugs. Temperature is one of the elements that affect milk’s shelf life. Milk will last longer if the refrigerator temperature is lowered. After its sell-by date, pasteurized milk can be stored in the refrigerator for two to five days. If it has been opened, it must be consumed within a day or two. It can survive for up to two months if properly preserved.

Methods for Extending the Shelf Life of Milk

After the sell-by or best-by date, milk may still be edible for a few days. If you don’t handle and store milk properly, you could still wind up with spoilt milk.

Here are some suggestions for preventing milk from deteriorating soon.

  • Place milk in the refrigerator as soon as possible after purchase unless it is shelf-stable.
  • Keep the temperature in your refrigerators ranging from 38°F (3°C) to 40°F (4°C).
  • Instead of a shelf in the door of your refrigerator, place milk on an inner shelf.
  • Always seal the carton after use and put it in the refrigerator immediately.

While milk can be kept for up to three months, the texture and color of the milk may alter unfavorably after freezing and thawing. Consequently, it will be okay to consume.

Can Milk be Freeze?

You can freeze milk if you have a batch you haven’t finished using up in time or have too much of it for any reason. To get the best results, freeze it to produce milk cubes in an ice cube tray. You can also freeze it inside an airtight container.

Although milk can be stored in the freezer for several months, we suggest using it within the first month for optimal effects. Then it begins to separate and turn gritty.

Is it Able to be Frozen for Up to Six Months?

Milk may be preserved by freezing for up to six months, a fantastic technique to increase its shelf life. It can even serve as the foundation for homemade chocolate milk or smoothies. There are several safety measures you must take, though. First, keep in mind that milk quality can alter over time. Use an airtight container or keep it in the freezer to stop this from happening.

Low-fat and whole milk are the two varieties that can be frozen. Both kinds of milk can be frozen, although milk with more fat will thaw more separately. Oat or flax bowls of milk can also be frozen, but you should be aware that they might separate once frozen.

Why is There an Expiration Date?

In the United States, packaging for food and beverages often includes at least one date, which might imply various things. These dates and definitions are not governed by a single set of government standards and can change across labels. Common dates on food and beverage labels, the Food Safety and Inspection Service claims, include:

  • This is the final day the maker advises customers to use the product to enjoy its best quality.
  • The greatest flavor or quality of a product is indicated by the date “best if used by.”
  • The suggested time frame for a store to keep the item on display is indicated by this date.
  • The optimal time to freeze a product is by this date to preserve its quality.

These labels have nothing to do with the caliber of the food or drink. All items should continue to be safe after any of these dates if handled properly.

Although the FSIS does not mandate product dating, any voluntary use of dates must be genuine and adhere to all laws, including showing a day and a month. One exception that the FSIS does control is infant formula because it can be harmful after the use-by date.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Trusted Source estimates that approximately one-third of the food consumed in the United States each year, or $161 billion, is wasted. Uncertainty regarding the meaning of food and beverage labels accounts for 20% of this waste.

To standardize “best if used by” to denote the date of optimal quality, the FDA is now collaborating with other federal agencies, except for infant formula. The objective is to reduce the number of people discarding food that is still safe to consume after it has expired.

Reference: Evaluation and Single-Laboratory Verification of a Proposed Modification to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Method for Detection and Identification of Campylobacter jejuni or Campylobacter coli from Raw Silo Milk 

Can Older Milk be Used in Soups, Baked Goods, Or Pancakes?

For up to three months, milk can be kept in the freezer. However, the following thawing and freezing might lead to modifications in color and texture. Milk should be consumed within two to three months of opening for the greatest taste. To keep milk fresh, proper handling and storage are essential. Before consuming it, it’s also crucial to look for any symptoms of deterioration. Old milk, for instance, could smell differently.

Older milk may taste sour, but it is safe for humans if taken in moderation. However, consuming a lot of spoilt milk could make you sick. Vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain are symptoms. Some individuals still determine when to discard spoilt milk and when to use it in recipes.

While milk can typically be consumed many days after the date written on the container, the flavor may start to fade. However, you can still use old milk in your baked products and soups.

Why does Milk Spoil?

Escherichia coli and Salmonella are two examples of bacteria that can naturally occur in milk and cause spoilage and illness. Bacterial proliferation impairs milk’s texture, flavor, and quality, deteriorating milk. Milk spoiling is frequently caused by psychotropic bacteria, which can flourish in freezing temperatures.

To increase the shelf life of milk, numerous steps in the production process work to eradicate these germs. The United States Department of Agriculture’s requirements is followed in milk production. Manufacturers’ dairy cows are raised and milked before the milk is transported for testing and processing and stored at 40°F or less. In the process of digesting milk,

  • Pasteurization: Manufacturers heat milk to eradicate bacteria before cooling it more during pasteurization.
  • Homogenization: An atomizer uniformly distributes fat throughout the milk, keeping it from settling to the top.
  • Separation: Various varieties of milk require different quantities of fat. Thus the cream is separated from the milk using a centrifuge before being recombined.

There may also be a need for further filtration steps or treatments at extremely high temperatures.

Most milk germs are eliminated by pasteurization, but not all of them; some bacteria can survive processing and even thrive. Home milk can become contaminated after being opened by new bacteria, which will eventually cause the milk to deteriorate.

How can You Know if Milk is Still Safe to Consume?

The easiest way to determine whether milk is safe to consume is by using your senses because the date on your milk doesn’t always signal safety.

A change in scent is among the earliest signs that your milk has gone bad.

The sour smell of spoiled milk results from the bacteria’s production of lactic acid. Another indication of rotting is a lumpy texture with a faintly yellow hue.

Side Effects of Older Milk

  • It’s doubtful that taking a sip or two of spoilt milk will negatively affect health.
  • However, consuming high or moderate amounts might result in food poisoning, which can produce symptoms like nausea, vomiting, stomach discomfort, and diarrhea.
  • Make an appointment to see your doctor. If your symptoms increase or continue or if you start to show indications of dehydration.


Milk quality, not safety, is impacted by expiration dates. After the expiration date, milk is often safe to eat for at least a few days. Most of the time, people can tell when milk is spoiled because of its smell and appearance.

While drinking spoilt milk may induce minor symptoms, it often has no lasting negative effects. The length of time milk will remain fresh can vary depending on the processing it receives. It is recommended to store milk securely and carefully, such as by refrigerating it.