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Can You Safely Drink Milk After the Sell-By Date?

Question: My teenage daughter refuses to drink milk after the date on the carton, but I’ve always felt it was safe for at least a few days. Is this true?

Answer: Yes, milk that has been properly stored will generally remain drinkable for about one week after the "sell-by" date on the package.

That’s the general case, mind you as the Dairy Council of California points out, several factors will influence what happens in your particular fridge once the milk’s sell-by date has passed.

Keeping your milk continuously refrigerated and sealing the container well after each use will go a long way toward keeping your milk fresh.  So too will making sure that the temperature of your refrigerator remains at or below 40° Fahrenheit at all times.

If milk develops an off odor, flavor or appearance, you should always discard it.

(Note: This refers to “sell-by” terminology used in the United States; practices in other countries may differ.)

See Also:

Can You Freeze Milk Successfully?
Are Eggs Still Safe After the Expiration Date?
Expiration Dates: Should You Pay Attention?



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