How Long Is Milk Good for After the Expiration Date?

Lactel Milk with milk bottle and glass

A lot of consumers are not completely aware of the meaning of the dates mentioned on the label of food packets. As a result, they end up wasting a lot of food. To reduce wastage, you should know what the different dates mean. These are the three types of dates you will commonly find on food item labels:

Manufacture Date: This date indicates the day on which the product was manufactured.

Best Before: This date indicates the day till which the item will stay in its best quality.

Milk Expiration Date: This date signifies the last day on which you can consume the food item. Post this day, consumption is not recommended as it might not be safe.

Make sure you always check these dates before buying any food item.

However, things might be a little different in the case of milk. It does not always expire or become unsafe to drink on its expiry date. Most people are not aware of this fact and end up wasting a lot of milk.

How long can you consume milk after the Expiry Date of milk?

Reputed brands like Lactel sell pasteurised milk. In the pasteurisation process, milk is heated to a high temperature so that all disease-causing bacteria like E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella in the milk are eradicated. This process helps in increasing the milk’s shelf life by 2 to 3 weeks by killing a few milk-spoiling bacteria as well. However, all the bacteria are not eradicated in this process and hence, the milk will have to be stored in the refrigerator. When stored properly, unopened pasteurised milk can stay good nearly a week past the milk’s expiration date. On the other hand, an opened packet can last 2 to 3 days past the date.

To ensure pasteurised milk stays good, you cannot keep it at room temperature for longer than an hour or two, even when sealed. However, this is not the case with ultra-heat treatment (UHT) milk. You can store UHT milk at room temperature as long as it is sealed. In the UHT process, milk is heated to an even higher temperature so that all the milk-spoiling bacteria are eradicated. As a result, the milk’s shelf life is longer.

UHT milk can last 2 to 4 weeks past the milk’s expiration date if it is sealed and stored in a cool and dry place. If refrigerated, the milk can last nearly a month past the expiry date of milk. However, an opened carton should always be stored in the fridge and consumed in a week.

Irrespective of the milk expiration date, you should always check the texture and smell of the milk before consuming it. Lactel Milk has a shelf life of 180 days.