Some say that opened milk is good to drink after its expiration date and others say that it should be thrown away after only a few days of being opened. What is the most correct?
Most dairy products last only 1-4 weeks. Unless we put it in the fridge, we should consume the milk immediately, since it only lasts a couple of hours at room temperature.
Before planning your meals and shopping list, it’s best to know how long you can store opened milk in the fridge. We also need to watch for signs of milk spoilage and learn how to extend shelf life.
between 4 and 7 days
Once opened, all types of milk (even brick) will last four to seven days if refrigerated. If not opened, the milk lasts until the recommended consumption date stated on the container. For fresh milk , whole milk lasts 5 to 7 days, skim and reduced-fat milk lasts 7 days, and fat-free and lactose-free milk lasts 7 to 10 days after its printed date, if kept in the fridge.
Expiration dates tell us when the product should leave the shelves of a supermarket. For many, “use by” are essentially marketing terms. These allow dairy farmers to tell consumers when the product’s peak freshness is, but they do not indicate the exact date the milk will spoil.
However, it is important to note that expiration dates vary depending on the type of milk we buy, how it is stored, and how it is packaged. For example, with raw or unpasteurized milk , these spoilage rates increase, as do milk made without preservatives. Contamination can also fuel bacterial growth, leading to sour milk.
Do not put on the refrigerator door
Many people keep the carton of milk in the refrigerator door, but that’s really the worst place to do it. There the temperature is warmer and tends to fluctuate more. The best place to put it is on the bottom shelf, which is the coldest place in the fridge.
The back of the top shelf probably retains the coldest temperature in the entire fridge because it’s away from the lights and away from the door. Milk that is stored in the refrigerator door receives the most exposure to the warmer air, especially when we are reaching for something with the door open.
For example, if we are looking in the refrigerator for the other half of the onion that we cut two days ago, that open milk is no longer in cold air, and remains at room temperature. It may not sound like much, but having open milk exposed to room temperature for even a short period of time can have an effect.
The trick to keeping milk fresh longer is to master the location of the milk in the refrigerator. Cow’s milk must be kept between 0 and 4ºC to prevent it from spoiling, so the more the milk is exposed to hot air, the faster it will lose its freshness.