How long is milk good for after the expiration date?

In this brief guide, we’ll focus on the search query: “How long is milk good for after the expiration date?” Also, we’ll explore how the expiration date of foods is calculated, how milk should be stored, what the nutritional content of milk is, and what are the health benefits of drinking milk

How long is milk good for after the expiration date? 

How long milk will remain okay to consume, will depend on whether or not it has been opened, and above all if it’s been properly stored. 

Milk that has been opened will last considerably less than milk that has been stored sealed. This is because the simple fact of being exposed to air is a potential entryway for microbes that can cause spoilage. 

In refrigeration, open milk can last for up to three days past its expiration date. Unopened milk, on the other hand, can last up to a week past its expiration date as it will remain pasteurized, and being sealed protects it from airborne microbes.

Many signs indicate that milk has gone foul, such as having a bitter taste, giving off foul smells, being discolored, and microbes growing in colonies.

Spoiled milk should be properly discarded to avoid food poisoning and other illnesses.

How is the expiration date of foods calculated? 

Oftentimes, the expiration date of food is calculated based on how perishable the product is.

Some foods may be more perishable than others, this will depend on their water content, the sugar content, and if like fruits they breathe, whether or not they’re climacteric. 

Therefore, manufacturers make conservative estimates based on what they observe in their products and what other handling methods are implemented. In the case of dairy, ultra-pasteurized products such as milk are less perishable, and milk that is only pasteurized and packaged requires refrigeration.

However, there are a lot of misunderstandings surrounding an expiration date and its meaning.

For example, a sell-by date alludes to the time at which point foods should reach the consumer. Many food types can have an estimated shelf life, beyond this point. For example, eggs remain safe for up to five weeks past their sell-by date.

The best by date alludes to a point in time at which point your food will have reached its peak quality and from there may gradually begin to lose its palatability or other properties. However, the food itself may remain perfectly safe to eat. This often applies to products that aren’t as perishable such as crackers, canned goods, spices, etc.

An expiration date however alludes to a point in time at which point the quality of a product will have deteriorated significantly and it may cause adverse effects if consumed. Products in this spectrum include baby food, cake mix, baby formula, etc.

Other food processors may print a quality assurance date which leads to a point in time at which point the quality of food may begin to degrade. However, this does not have an impact on its safety, simply on its flavor and texture.

In many cases, food can be stored to expand its shelf life beyond the manufacturer’s instructions. For example, eggs can be frozen and kept for up to a year, while remaining perfectly safe to eat. This greatly outlasts the five weeks after packaging that many eggs brands indicate. 

Storing food at subzero temperatures is a great way to expand the shelf life of many foods, though we encourage our readers to consult whether or not it’s feasible for them to preserve certain food types in a deep freeze.

How should milk be stored? 

Ultrapasteurized milk can be stored at room temperature while it remains sealed. Pasteurize milk should be refrigerated while sealed and can be kept at the front of the shelves as it has not yet been exposed to the microbes in the air.

Milk that has been opened should be stored in the middle of the fridge near the back for the temperature of the coolest to delay for as long as possible the onset of microbe growth. This will help extend the shelf life in refrigeration and prevent any questionable odors from making their way into your milk.

Milk should never be stored at room temperature if it has been opened. This is because within hours (depending on the ambient temperature), it may go rancid and begin to give a funny taste and questionable smells. This milk should be properly discarded to avoid any symptoms of food poisoning.

What is the nutritional content of milk? 

The exact nutritional content of milk will depend on whether or not it has had fat removed, and if it has been supplemented with additives. 

For reference a 244 g cup of milk will provide: 

  • 122 calories – of which 43 are sourced from fat
  • 8.1 grams of protein
  • 4.8 grams of fat (7% of the RDI) – of which 3.1 grams are saturated fat (16% of the RDI), 0.2 grams are trans fat, 0.2 grams are polyunsaturated fat, and 1.4 grams are monounsaturated fat.
  • 12 grams of carbohydrates (4% of the RDI – all of which are sugars
  • 20 milligrams of cholesterol (7% of the RDI)
  • 115 milligrams of sodium (5% of the RDI)
  • 342 milligrams of potassium (10% of the RDI)

Additionally, the same portion of milk will supply 9.3% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, 0.8% of vitamin C, 23% of calcium, and 0.3% of iron.

*Recommended daily intake values are calculated based on a 2000 calories per day diet. 

What are the health benefits of drinking milk? 

Drinking milk can provide many health benefits. It is a premier source of calcium, dairy fat, protein, potassium, B vitamins, and other micronutrients. 

Calcium is essential for bone health, muscle contractions, formation of blood clots to stop hemorrhaging and to maintain healthy heart rhythms and nerve function. 

Dairy fat is associated (in moderation) with a decreased risk of heart disease, and protein is essential to maintain a healthy muscle mass, and for cells to be repaired when they suffer damage from physical injuries. 

In addition, proteins are essential for proper immune function. 

Milk can provide many health benefits, but it may be contraindicated for those with lactose-intolerance disorders, and dairy allergies. 

We encourage our readers to discuss what their particular nutritional needs are with a specialist or a general practitioner and ask whether or not they should drink milk in any of its iterations such as lactose-free, skimmed, or any other type. 

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we’ve focused on the search query: “How long is milk good for after the expiration date?” Also, we’ve explored how the expiration date of foods is calculated, how milk should be stored, what the nutritional content of milk is, and what are the health benefits of drinking milk

References

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/milk-benefits

https://www.nutritionix.com/food/milk

https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/do-food-expiration-dates-matter

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-long-is-milk-good-after-expiration-date#:~:text=While%20there%20are%20no%20set,3%2C%208%20%2C%209).

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-long-is-milk-good-after-expiration-date

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