The date on my milk says 11/12/19, and its passed. I was going to dump it so I smell it and it smelled normal?? Is it still ok to use? Because I have another gallon in the fridge (they come in pair)


3 Answers 3


The great things about milk

  1. If you can smell things, and the milk smells good, it is good.

  2. Even if the milk smells sour, it is still probably safe.

  3. Milk that might make you sick smells terrible. No-one who could smell would drink it.

I would absolutely drink (store bought) milk that smelled good. This rule does not apply to unpasteurized milk; as I understand it milk with bovine tuberculosis still is tasty, but infectious.

  • 2
    "Milk that might make you sick smells terrible. No-one who could smell would drink it." That is categorically false. One of the most common bacterial contaminations in milk that makes people sick is Listeria, which has no noticeable odor. Other types of microorganisms can also grow in milk but produce no noticeable odor. Most of these are rarely found in pasteurized milk, but contamination can happen, and part of the reason for expiration dates on milk is because even at refrigerator temperatures, these organisms can multiply over time to make someone sick.
    – Athanasius
    Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 19:02
  • Note that I'm not saying the chances of getting sick from OP's milk are high (they probably are quite low), but smell is NOT a reliable indicator of food safety for any food.
    – Athanasius
    Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 19:03

Most places, milk is labeled with a sell by date, not a use by date. In most places in the US, it is expected that the milk will be good 7-10 days beyond that date under proper storage. That varies a little by jurisdiction, in my state it is a minimum of 7 days. Actual time you will want to continue using will depend on your tolerance as it starts to sour, storage temperature, time out of cold storage, smells and flavors it may pick up in the fridge, etc. For me, I usually cannot tolerate the taste beyond about 5 days even though it is not spoiled in most people's view. My partner seldom has issues with it well beyond 7 days so I let her use it.


As said in @Willk's answer, if the milk smells normal you can use it as you would use normal milk. If it is soured you have yourself some soured milk.

You can still use that, but i wouldn't suggest pouring it into coffee or over cereal. However, you can use it in baking or anywhere you would use butter milk. The tanginess gives a great flavor to stuff like pancakes for example.

I know it is an important ingredient in some traditional German dishes as my grandma used it quite a lot, but i think it's even more used in eastern European cuisines.

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