I made tea with milk in the morning and had it in the evening. Is it is safe? After how much time, does it become unconsumable?

  • I don't think this question can be answerable. But if you feel unsafe with this (or any other drink/food) simply don't consume it.
    – J.A.I.L.
    Dec 13, 2012 at 12:47
  • Was it refrigerated? That's a huge factor. Dec 13, 2012 at 14:06
  • @Mong134, it wasn't refrigerated, it was left at room temp. Whats the difference? Dec 13, 2012 at 14:15
  • 1

1 Answer 1


Probably not. Perishable food and drinks are considered unsafe after being in the danger zone (40°F - 140°F, 5°C - 60°C) for more than 4 hours (EDIT: when I was a cook in Massachusetts, four hours was the cut off. Apparently the USDA recommends two hours). And note: that's a cumulative four hours over the course of the foodstuff's lifetime, not four hours in a row. If the milk sits on the counter for an hour, then it's boiled and put into tea which then sits out for three hours, it's considered unsafe.

Leaving food out too long at room temperature can cause bacteria (such as Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella Enteritidis, Escherichia coli *O157:H7*, and Campylobacter) to grow to dangerous levels that can cause illness. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F, doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes. This range of temperatures is often called the "Danger Zone."

Keep Food Out of the "Danger Zone"

Never leave food out of refrigeration over 2 hours. If the temperature is above 90 °F, food should not be left out more than 1 hour. Keep hot food hot — at or above 140 °F. Place cooked food in chafing dishes, preheated steam tables, warming trays, and/or slow cookers. Keep cold food cold — at or below 40 °F. Place food in containers on ice.

Also crucial to remember when food safety is concerned: FAT TOM. FAT TOM is a mnemonic device which stands for:

  • Food
  • Acidity
  • Time
  • Temperature
  • Oxygen
  • Moisture

All of those things are a factor in the growth of bacteria. With room-temperature milky tea that's been sitting out all day, we've got the full gamut:

  1. Nutrients from the milk (food)
  2. If it's milky tea, it you probably didn't put lemon in it, because let's face it, that'd be gross unless you have a thing for curdled milk.
  3. Time - you said it's been there since this morning
  4. Temperature - at room temperature
  5. Oxygen - I doubt this is space tea or that it was stored in a vacuum.
  6. Moisture - it's a cup of infused water and milk. Doesn't get much more moist than that.

Remember: When in doubt, throw it out.

  • Good link. You might want to add some information about the danger zone in your answer in case the link ever goes away.
    – JoeFish
    Dec 13, 2012 at 14:39
  • @JoeFish better? Dec 13, 2012 at 14:52
  • quite a bit, yes. Now it's +1 worthy :)
    – JoeFish
    Dec 13, 2012 at 14:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.