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Shelf life of milk: what does the best before date say?

Unfortunately, milk and dairy products often end up in the garbage far too quickly. The reason for food waste: the expired best-before date (BBD). We explain to you what the best before date actually means and how you can check whether the food is still good even after it has expired.

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Best before expired = into the bin?

For many, it's like a reflex: a yogurt is thrown away unopened because the best-before date has just passed. You might as well be throwing away cash.

The best-before date is not a throw-away date.

It is a kind of guarantee from the manufacturer: means that the (unopened!) Product will retain its specific properties such as smell, taste and appearance at least until this date. The best before date is determined by the manufacturer. Milk, cheese, quark and co. Are usually still edible far beyond that. "Best before ..." does not mean "Immediately inedible from ...".

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Once the best-before date has expired, you have to trust your own senses: If the yoghurt smells and tastes good and also looks appetizing, it can be eaten with confidence.

Different shelf life depending on the type of milk

The shelf life of different types of milk depends on the respective heat treatment.

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  • Preferred milk is untreated raw milk from farms approved for marketing. It has a very short shelf life and should be used within two to three days.
  • Fresh milk is pasteurized, i.e. heated. It can be kept refrigerated and sealed for six days, and two to three days when it is open.
  • UHT milk is almost germ-free. It can be stored unopened for up to eight weeks at room temperature. Open packs belong in the refrigerator door. Here the long-life milk lasts for another two to three days.
  • As ESL milk is called fresh milk with an extended shelf life. This can be kept well chilled and unopened for about three weeks. An opened ESL milk can be stored in the refrigerator for around two to four days.

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Store dairy products correctly for a long shelf life

With the right storage, you can maximize the shelf life of milk and dairy products such as cheese, butter, quark and yogurt. As different as the food may be, the same applies to all of them: do not expose to light or heat. Dairy products should get into the refrigerator by the shortest route from the supermarket. Well closed, ideally in the original packaging, they feel most comfortable in the middle compartment at 6 degrees Celsius.

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Cheese also belongs in the refrigerator. The optimum temperature is in the middle compartment. Each cheese should be individually packaged so that cheese smells do not mix and noble mold does not spread to hard cheese. Cheese slices or cream cheese should be consumed within a week.

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The shelf life of milk, cheese & Co. beyond the MHS can be extended through correct storage

Yogurt lid bulges up?

With yoghurt you can often see how the closed lid bulges up over time. Many believe this is a sign that the product is spoiled. But far from it: the bulge is caused by the (living!) Lactic acid bacteria contained in it, and they are even good for you (or your intestines). If the smell is okay too, then there is nothing wrong with eating yogurt with a domed lid.

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Don't take BBD that seriously

Those who do not ban all yoghurt from the refrigerator immediately after the expiry date not only saves money, but also makes a personal contribution to counteracting increasing food waste. Because the products can usually be kept for several weeks if unopened. However, if you are not sure whether the product is still edible despite an intensive odor and taste test, you should play it safe for the sake of your health.

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