How to Tell If Milk Has Gone Bad

While most kinds of milk can be consumed several days past their expiration date, it’s best to consider a few things before drinking expired milk. Because of that, 5-Minute Crafts has created a simple but helpful guide on how to distinguish spoiled milk using your senses.

1. Texture

The first sign is the milk’s texture. If you suspect your milk has gone bad, try pouring it into a glass and checking the consistency. If it’s lumpy and has chunks in it, it’s not suitable for consumption.

2. Smell

A clear sign of spoiled milk is its smell. When milk is rotten, it has a distinct sour smell due to the lactic acid produced by bacteria.

Most milk goes through a process called pasteurization — this involves heating the milk to destroy potentially harmful bacteria. But pasteurization can’t kill all the bacteria, and bacteria that remain will continue to grow and eventually cause the milk to spoil.

3. Color

The milk’s color is also a tell-tale sign. Fresh milk looks white due to caseins, a type of protein found in milk that clumps together with calcium and phosphate to form something called micelles, which are tiny particles. When light strikes these micelles, it gives milk its normal white appearance.

But when milk is spoiled, its color changes to a light yellow. Also, pay attention to whether there is any crust around the edges.

Tips on how to make milk last longer.

  • After purchasing your milk, store it in the fridge as soon as possible
  • Keep your refrigerator temperature between 38°F (3°C) and 40°F (4°C)
  • Instead of putting the milk on a shelf on the fridge door, keep it on an interior shelf
  • After every use, always tightly seal your milk and return it to the fridge.
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