What to do If I accidentally left out milk overnight?

In this article, we will answer the question “What to do If I accidentally left out milk overnight?”, how to store milk, what is the shelf-life of milk, how to tell if the milk has gone bad, and how long after drinking spoiled milk will I get sick.

What to do If I accidentally left out milk overnight?

Discard the milk if you accidentally left out milk overnight even if it looks and smells good. According to the USDA, any perishable food commodity including milk becomes unsafe for consumption if left out for more than 2 hours.

Because bacteria multiply exponentially at the temperature range of 40-140F. This temperature range is called the ‘Danger zone and rightfully so. Discard the milk if it has been sitting out at a temperature above 90F after an hour.

How to store milk?

Make sure milk is the last item you check off your grocery list. This is an effort to minimize the time that the milk spends outside. Put the milk cartons in the fridge right away after getting home. 

Make sure the fridge is marinated at a temperature of 40F or below. Although it is tempting to keep the milk in the fridge door, it is malpractice and reduces the shelf-life of milk.

This is because the temperature is the most unstable in the fridge door. Keeping the milk near the back of the fridge helps minimize temperature fluctuations and extends the shelf-life of milk.

Make sure the milk is tightly sealed in between uses. If the seal of the original container is broken, transfer the milk to an air-tight container with a sound seal.

Note that UHT and canned milk can be safely stored at room temperature. But this only applies if their containers are unopened. Once opened, UHT and canned milk should be treated and stored just like pasteurized milk.

What is the shelf-life of milk?

If stored correctly, an opened carton of milk lasts about 7 days past the printed date. However, It is suggested that you use the milk within 5 days of opening.

If you want your milk to last longer, say for up to 4 weeks, reposition it from the fridge to the freezer. This does not mean you will wait till the last supposed day of the shelf-life of refrigerated milk and suddenly decides to freeze it to ‘save it’.

There is no saving the milk that has reached the limit of its shelf-life under refrigeration. So, you should plan ahead of time. If you do not intend to use the milk within the next 5 days, or at least not use all of it, freeze it.

How to tell if the milk has gone bad?

The rate at which the milk spoils depends on various factors such as exposure to light and heat, storage temperature, and the number of spoilage bacteria present. Following are the telltale signs that your milk has turned.

Smell: Spoiled milk smells sour due to the lactic acid produced by the spoilage bacteria.

Appearance: If you suspect the milk is spoiled, you are looking for a ropy or lumpy texture and a yellow color. 

Mold: Mold grows on milk in the form of white or green patches or spots. Get rid of moldy milk if you spot it.

How long after drinking spoiled milk will I get sick?

You will get sick after several hours or days of drinking spoiled milk. It all depends on your immunity, the amount of spoiled milk ingested, and the pathogenicity of the bacteria present in spoiled milk. 

Common symptoms of food poisoning or sickness resulting from drinking spoiled milk include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and abdominal cramps. Make sure to drink and stay hydrated while the food poisoning lasts 

The symptoms should be gone within 3 days. If they persist or get progressively worse, it is best you seek medical help. Your doctor will prescribe you medication depending on what may be the cause of the illness e.g E.coli or Salmonella.

Conclusion 

In this article, we answered the question “What to do If I accidentally left out milk overnight?”, how to store milk, what is the shelf-life of milk, how to tell if the milk has gone bad, and how long after drinking spoiled milk will I get sick.

References 

https://www.myrecipes.com/extracrispy/how-long-can-milk-be-out-of-the-fridge#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20US%20Food%20and%20Drug%20Administration%2C%20refrigerated%20foods,if%20the%20ambient%20temperature%20rises

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-long-is-milk-good-after-expiration-date#:~:text=Spoiled%20milk%20has%20a%20distinct,and%20lumpy%20texture%20(15).&text=Signs%20that%20your%20milk%20has%20spoiled%20and%20may%20not%20be,in%20color%2C%20and%20lumpy%20texture

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