Author Topic: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon  (Read 9802 times)

nexus

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Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« on: October 19, 2017, 01:48:48 PM »
Hi folks,

This one has been a head scratcher for me. I'll buy a 1/2 gallon or quart of milk and if I don't use it within 3-5 days the milk goes bad despite having an expiration date far off in the future.

*updated due to date typo
For example, I purchased a 1/2 gallon of 2% milk on Sunday from Winco 10/15 and by yesterday 10/18 it already smelled funky. Expiration date is 10/28. This has been happening fairly consistently over the last 6+ months which has encouraged me to consume less and less milk (oh how I love me some Nesquik). It doesn't seem to matter where I buy it from. Target, Safeway, Winco (although the Lucerne brand did last a couple days longer than the rest). I do not leave the container sitting out. From the time it leaves the fridge until it returns is within 1 minute.

Any thoughts or suggestions here? Could this have something to do with fridge temperature? Nothing else is going bad in the fridge or looking cruddy prior to its expiration date. Thanks for your insights!
« Last Edit: November 01, 2017, 12:43:59 PM by nexus »

therethere

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2017, 01:53:03 PM »
Yes, put a thermometer in the fridge to check that. My fridge was slowly dying and I didn't really notice for awhile. You can either buy a fridge thermometer or take a probe thermometer in a glass of water in the fridge to regulate.

Also, is your freezer jam packed? The fridge regulates temp between both the freezer and fridge portion. If you have frozen food blocking the path, cold air won't move down to the fridge as easy.


marielle

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2017, 01:54:37 PM »
Probably fridge temperature or maybe a poor source of milk? Most things are okay with the fridge being on the higher end of the suggested temperature range, but it's not really recommended.

I've found that non-dairy milk lasts a lot longer so that could be something to consider. I haven't had actual cow's milk in years.

Slee_stack

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2017, 01:55:51 PM »
Expiration dates are also often WHEN UN-OPENED expiration dates.

Break the seal?  All bets are off.

NeonPegasus

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2017, 01:55:59 PM »
The first thing I would do is stick a thermometer in your fridge and double check the temperature. Milk and meat are going to be the first things to go bad. Other items in the fridge may be less susceptible to a higher temperature.

Other than that, you may be losing your taste for milk. I have gotten to the point where I only like it in coffee or dairy products, like yogurt.


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JLee

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2017, 01:56:07 PM »
+1 to fridge temp. I noticed this with mine as well; at first I thought it was from one particular store, and then I noticed that milk from a different store/brand was also going bad early.  I put a thermometer in the milk and it was something like 44f. Wayyyy too warm. 

Frankies Girl

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2017, 02:00:36 PM »
Do you put your milk in the door by chance? Even if the temp is operating okay for the fridge as a whole, the door's area for some reason is warmer than the rest. Milk or other expiry based foods should be stored in the main section of the fridge, towards the back if possible.

Higher fat content stays good longer too. Skim will go off days sooner than full fat milk.

Rocketman

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2017, 02:24:16 PM »
Turn the fridge down...

Our fancy pants fridge has a milk door - it keeps the milk just above freezing. It will stay good well after the milk date.

lizzzi

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2017, 02:36:32 PM »
Same thing happened to me. It was the refrigerator temperature. After two new thermostats and a new fan, the refrigerator was finally fixed, but I keep a thermometer in there all the time now. When the refrigerator is dying slowly, you may not notice the gradual temperature change. My repairman also told me the same thing as someone posted upthread, about the possibility of cold air from the freezer being blocked. And also about not keeping milk in the door.

As you described, all the other food seemed perfectly fine, but the milk was going bad way too soon.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2017, 02:50:13 PM »
Do you have a side by side fridge? If the defrost system goes out then the fridge will start to get warm because the air vent between the two will get clogged with ice. The freezer will still work fine.

WildJager

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2017, 03:31:18 PM »
Do you have a side by side fridge? If the defrost system goes out then the fridge will start to get warm because the air vent between the two will get clogged with ice. The freezer will still work fine.

When is the last time you thawed your fridge OP?  Over time fridges will accumulate ice even if the defrost is functional, the timing of it may just be less that ideal (especially if it's humid in your house).  Powering down your fridge for a day (don't forget to lay down some towels) will allow it to thaw out and clear out ice that's built up over the years in the small air vents.  If you notice a tendency to have keep moving the cold knob colder to reach the same internal temp, thawing completely usually fixes that.

Syonyk

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2017, 03:44:29 PM »
As noted, check the fridge temperatures, because that's the likely problem.

However, lactose free milk lasts a lot longer.  My wife & I weren't going through enough milk to go through a half gallon of regular before the expiration date, so were throwing a lot out.  Switching to lactose free, even though it was more expensive, saved us a lot of money over throwing out milk.

letired

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2017, 04:01:05 PM »
It's more expensive, but at least in the US, organic milk is often pasteurized at a higher temp than regular milk, so it can last longer. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/experts-organic-milk-lasts-longer/

Also using good practices helps a lot. I treat my milk and cream like I would my lab supplies. I minimize the amount of time the cap is off (less time for airborne microbes to get into the milk) and I put the milk back in the fridge ASAP so it changes temp less.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 04:02:51 PM by letired »

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2017, 04:05:52 PM »
Aside from the suggestions above, you can freeze milk. I always pour off about a quart into a jar* and freeze it.

*Yes, a glass jar. If you leave the top off until the contents are frozen solid, you can totally freeze liquids in repurposed glass jars. I have had only 1 crack in several years.

Syonyk

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2017, 04:06:06 PM »
Also using good practices helps a lot. I treat my milk and cream like I would my lab supplies. I minimize the amount of time the cap is off (less time for airborne microbes to get into the milk) and I put the milk back in the fridge ASAP so it changes temp less.

Let me guess, you don't have kids? :)

letired

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2017, 04:33:03 PM »
Also using good practices helps a lot. I treat my milk and cream like I would my lab supplies. I minimize the amount of time the cap is off (less time for airborne microbes to get into the milk) and I put the milk back in the fridge ASAP so it changes temp less.

Let me guess, you don't have kids? :)

nope! :D

samsonator54321

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2017, 06:56:57 PM »
Orangic milk is pasteurized at a higher temperature and lasts 4-6 weeks in the fridge.

PMG

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2017, 07:27:23 PM »
In addition to checking the temp, and freezing some I find that milk stays fresher and tastes better in glass.  Maybe it's in my head?  I buy in plastic and decant into tight sealing glass and often use it much longer than the 5-7 days I grew up with. 


geekette

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2017, 07:42:15 PM »
Aside from the suggestions above, you can freeze milk. I always pour off about a quart into a jar* and freeze it.

*Yes, a glass jar. If you leave the top off until the contents are frozen solid, you can totally freeze liquids in repurposed glass jars. I have had only 1 crack in several years.

I get cracks if I put liquid in above the "shoulders".  That's why freeze proof jars are completely straight.

But yeah, it's the temp.

nexus

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2017, 12:45:05 PM »
Thanks everyone for the great responses.

The freezer is typically Tetris'd together. I need to look at the top shelf where the vents are in the freezer because I usually stuff partial bags of frozen vegetables, bread and such, or ice trays in that area.

As for where I store the milk, it just depends. Sometimes it is in the door, sometimes it's not.

I'll get a fridge thermometer and take a look at the temp. Kinda bummed it didn't come with one...or maybe it did and I buried it long, long ago! :p

I live in a somewhat old-ish apartment complex so it wouldn't surprise me if the fridge is on its last legs. It's your standard, white, roughly 6' tall fridge with a top freezer door and a bottom fridge door. Nothing fancy. No ice maker, nada.

If dropping the temperature doesn't work, I'll attempt the thaw-out method one poster mentioned. I haven't noticed that the fridge is working particularly hard or frequent so I'm hoping that's not the case. (I also have not noticed a change in my electric bill either.)

JLee

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2017, 03:10:10 PM »
Thanks everyone for the great responses.

The freezer is typically Tetris'd together. I need to look at the top shelf where the vents are in the freezer because I usually stuff partial bags of frozen vegetables, bread and such, or ice trays in that area.

As for where I store the milk, it just depends. Sometimes it is in the door, sometimes it's not.

I'll get a fridge thermometer and take a look at the temp. Kinda bummed it didn't come with one...or maybe it did and I buried it long, long ago! :p

I live in a somewhat old-ish apartment complex so it wouldn't surprise me if the fridge is on its last legs. It's your standard, white, roughly 6' tall fridge with a top freezer door and a bottom fridge door. Nothing fancy. No ice maker, nada.

If dropping the temperature doesn't work, I'll attempt the thaw-out method one poster mentioned. I haven't noticed that the fridge is working particularly hard or frequent so I'm hoping that's not the case. (I also have not noticed a change in my electric bill either.)

I just used an ordinary kitchen thermometer and poked it into the milk to see what the temperature was.

PMG

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2017, 03:14:43 PM »
Thanks everyone for the great responses.

The freezer is typically Tetris'd together. I need to look at the top shelf where the vents are in the freezer because I usually stuff partial bags of frozen vegetables, bread and such, or ice trays in that area.

As for where I store the milk, it just depends. Sometimes it is in the door, sometimes it's not.

I'll get a fridge thermometer and take a look at the temp. Kinda bummed it didn't come with one...or maybe it did and I buried it long, long ago! :p

I live in a somewhat old-ish apartment complex so it wouldn't surprise me if the fridge is on its last legs. It's your standard, white, roughly 6' tall fridge with a top freezer door and a bottom fridge door. Nothing fancy. No ice maker, nada.

If dropping the temperature doesn't work, I'll attempt the thaw-out method one poster mentioned. I haven't noticed that the fridge is working particularly hard or frequent so I'm hoping that's not the case. (I also have not noticed a change in my electric bill either.)

I just used an ordinary kitchen thermometer and poked it into the milk to see what the temperature was.

I've put my outdoor thermometer in the fridge. 

LeRainDrop

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2017, 11:01:20 PM »
When I used to buy regular dairy milk, I think it used to go bad around 5-7 days after opening.  But I live alone and just wasn't drinking the milk quickly enough to use it up before it went bad.  So, I switched to organic dairy milk, which lasts a much longer time after opening, like 3 weeks or so.  Most recently, I crossed over to almond milk instead, and that also lasts a long time after opening.  If your fridge temp turns out to be okay, then it may just be the natural cycle for your milk.  Perhaps switching to organic or one of the non-dairy milks would help you.

Kwill

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2017, 01:35:27 AM »
If you don't mind the taste, dry milk can be handy. In the States it can be cheaper per gallon than regular milk, and you can make up only what you need for a couple days. Eggs last a long time, so you may be able to go longer between supermarket visits as well.

Astatine

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2017, 02:20:59 AM »
Like the others said, check your fridge temperature.

Maybe buy smaller volumes of milk so that you go through an opened bottle faster? According to google, a US gallon = nearly 4 litres of milk. That's a lot! Unless you have a large household/heavy milk drinkers. The other advantage of a smaller size is it's easier to manage if anyone using the milk has any joint or muscle issues. I find even 2 litre bottles (~1/2 gallon) awkward to pour when my shoulder is particularly bad.

We buy 1 litre UHT milk from Aldi and that seems to last a week in our fridge after opening. (also has the benefit of being able to be stored in the cupboard until opening)

teen persuasion

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2017, 07:55:19 AM »
OP, your fridge should be below 40F (spoilage) but above 32F (or things like lettuce will freeze).  Your freezer should be around 0F.  You may be able to find a cheap fridge thermometer in the dollar store, or if you have a kitchen thermometer already do as another poster mentioned - put it in a glass of water and leave it in the fridge to test the temp.  Air temp changes rapidly when you open the door.

My DD1 got a dorm fridge for college that turned out to be useless, it did not get cold enough to keep milk from spoiling.  It was essentially intended to be a cooler for pop, but we had no way of knowing this before buying it.  Trying my thermometer in a glass of water trick, it was around 50F.

lil_miss_frugal

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2017, 07:07:29 AM »
If the fridge temp isn't the issue, try pouring the milk in a cup and then smell it. Most of the time when you smell milk from the carton or container it's usually the carton that has the weird smell and not the milk

11ducks

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2017, 07:13:53 AM »
Do you have kids or a husband that opens the fridge 50x a day?

I make sure to plan my baking around 2-3 days after milk purchasing, to use up the older stuff

nexus

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #28 on: October 25, 2017, 03:57:19 PM »
Do you have kids or a husband that opens the fridge 50x a day?

I make sure to plan my baking around 2-3 days after milk purchasing, to use up the older stuff

Tee hee hee, nope its just me. When the SO stays over she's also not one to venture to the fridge 50x a day.

I'll also consider powdered milk. I think they sell it at the Dollar Store too. I was using almond* milk for quite a while for my protein shakes but I ended up losing taste for it. Again, this may be due to fridge temp. I'm finally making time to grab a thermometer today. I'll measure the temperature in a glass of water after I let it sit there for a couple of hours.

Once I get the fridge temp figured out, I'll consider organic milk

I stopped buying gallons long ago because I'm not a big milk consumer. I find cereal pointless (yet tasty). I'll eat two bowls at 7:30AM and by 10AM I'll be starving again. The SO uses milk to cook and occasionally I'll choose some chocolate milk or a protein shake over a beer. A half gallon is about all I find use for these days...half a gallon of milk that is. I have ample use for any volume of beer.

*Same thing happened with soy. I tried different brands. Vanilla, sweetened, unsweetened. I'm 99% certain the problem is the fridge temp at this point.

kimmarg

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #29 on: October 25, 2017, 07:54:16 PM »
So with a toddler in the house my bigger problem is I need to buy milk every few days, and I can't say I've tested the longer term storage but it struck me you said you bought it on 9/15 and it was going bad on 10/18 - that's a month! That's waaaay longer than I thought milk would last but again I have no data points.

If you'd like to send me a quart of your extra milk every day or two I'd be happy to help your cause :)

AnswerIs42

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Re: Milk Goes Bad Too Soon
« Reply #30 on: October 25, 2017, 08:20:00 PM »
Of course, you know what milk lasts the longest...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4HN1wdtpWw