How Fast Does Milk Spoil?
The pace of milk spoiling depends on the type of milk. If you don’t open the bottle then whole milk will start to spoil after five to seven days, lactose-free milk after seven to ten days, while reduced fat milk after seven days – that too if they are refrigerated.
If the milk has gone bad before its sell-by date, that indicates that it was improperly handled, and it needs to be returned to the store to get a refund. The print date does not mean your milk is going to expire, or is unsafe to drink right after this date.
It is important to note that the shelf life dates differ depending on the type of milk you buy, the way that the milk is stored, and the way it is packaged. In this article, we will discuss how long milk may remain safe beyond its expiration date, and we will explain what different dates on food and beverage labels mean. In this article, you will learn all about proper storage conditions of milk, its shelf life, and signs of spoilage, and about the risks of drinking milk that has been left outside of the refrigerator for more than two hours.
Pasteurized milk also should not be left out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours because of food safety concerns. Finally, milk that has just been heated may safely be left out of the refrigerator for about 8 hours. Because milk falls under perishable foods, food safety experts advise not leaving it out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours, generally speaking. In general, perishable foods, such as milk, should not be left outside the fridge or freezer for longer than two hours.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, refrigerated foods, including milk, should never sit outside of a refrigerator at room temperature for longer than two hours. The FDA says that you should never leave unopened milk outside the fridge for longer than two hours at room temperature. If the milk is left out of the refrigerator for more than two hours, it is considered unsafe to consume, according to the FDA.
Unless refrigerated, you must consume the milk right away, as it lasts for just a couple of hours at room temperature. You can store fresh milk in an ice-packed cooler for 24 hours, or in the back of your fridge, far away from your doors, for 3 to 5 days. Milk is made shelf-stable (refrigeration is not necessary to store) by pasteurizing it at high temperatures. Canning for evaporated milk is shelf-stable, but after opening, should be treated like fresh liquid milk, kept refrigerated, and used within several days.
Remember, after you open a shelf-stable milk, you must handle it as you would normal milk, keeping it cold, 40degF or colder. Remember to bring the milk out of the store and place quickly into the fridge at home to prevent the temperature rising to more than 40degF. No matter which kind of milk you are using, it should always be kept in your fridge after opening.
Milk can last for up to three months when stored frozen at 0degF, and it is safe to drink once thawed in the refrigerator, though it does not keep the same smooth texture.
Once you buy your milk and refrigerate it quickly, it should maintain its fresh flavor for one to five days past the sell-by date, provided that it is kept at a suitable temperature. Some data suggests that pasteurized milk should retain freshness for 3-5 days beyond its sell-by date, for 10-21 days total. The average shelf-life for ultrapasteurized milk products is 30-90 days if kept refrigerated, but only as long as the product is not opened. Even longer-lasting milks, which can last months when not opened, must be used within one week after opening.
|Opened Milk||2-3 days|
|Unopened Milk||5-7 days|
|Ultra Pasteurized Milk||30-90 days|
|Unopened UHT Milk||2-4 weeks|
While there is no set recommendation, most studies show that, as long as properly stored, unopened milk typically stays good for 5-7 days after the listed date, whereas opened milk stays good for at least 2-3 days past this date (3, 8, 9). The general rule is that unopened milk will last about 7 days past its printed date, provided that the seal is intact and that the milk has been refrigerated correctly. According to Eat By Date, after opening, all milk lasts between four to seven days beyond its printed date, when refrigerated. If not opened, whole milk lasts five to seven days, reduced-fat and skimmed milk lasts seven days, and fat-free and lactose-free milk lasts seven to 10 days past its printed date, if refrigerated.
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Unopened, UHT milk generally lasts 2-4 weeks beyond the printed date when stored in a cool, dry pantry, and up to 1-2 months in the refrigerator. Heat at least 135oC (275degF) for two or four seconds, and store in special packaging, and unopened UHT milk can last for up to six months at room temperature. Ultra-heat treatment (UHT) is like pasteurization, but uses higher temperatures, making it safer for unsold milk products to store at room temperature (12).
Manufacturers produce ultra-high-temperature (UHT) aseptic or unopened milk products by heating milk using sterile equipment and filling under aseptic conditions in specially designed containers, which may increase the shelf-life beyond 6 months. The combination of UHT pasteurization and bottling sterilization assures that milk will keep for up to six months on shelves, refrigerated.
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While pasteurization makes the milk safer for consumption, this does not mean it is safe to keep milk outside of your fridge for extended periods, especially once you have opened it. The key to remember to keep any milk longer is to refrigerate it: never leave your milk on the counter, and make sure you finish single servings within one hour of drinking. Taking care to protect your milk from hot temperatures for as long as you have got it will help keep it going longer and will make for better tasting drinks down to the last drop. We all want to keep our milk fresh for as long as possible, but in order to keep that, you need to know how long to keep your room temperature milk for without it spoiling (of course, just like any other dairy, milk will spoil, too).
There is one more difference: Pasteurized, unopened milk is allowed to stay at room temperature, whereas fresh milk that has been refrigerated has to be kept refrigerated all of the time. In the United States, pasteurized milk has to be refrigerated, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is best to throw out conventional milk if you leave it out for several hours, even without opening the seal.
What causes milk to spoil?
When milk’s pH levels fall, it becomes acidic, and milk proteins (casein and others) molecules gravitate toward one another to form “curdles” or lumps. The lumps then float on the solution’s surface, and the lumps are formed faster at warmer temperatures. Heat the milk gently over medium-low heat to control the dairy from curdling.
How long does milk last unrefrigerated?
Foods like milk should never remain more than two hours at room temperature after being taken out of the refrigerator, as per the instruction of the US Food and Drug Administration. Milk may deteriorate more quickly during the summer because the temperature is more conducive to bacterial growth.
How long can milk sit out for baby?
It depends on the kind of milk you’re referring to. Breast milk that has just been pumped is okay to store at room temperature for 5 to 6 hours. However, it’s best to utilize the breast milk within 4 hours if the temperature is warm. Whereas, you should use formula milk within 2 hours.