Milk and dairy products are chilled foods. This means they have to be kept refrigerated. Exceptions to this rule are shelf-stable dairy products (e.g. UHT milk/products). These can be safely stored for several months in their original sealed packaging – but once opened, they must be treated in the same way as chilled, fresh foods.
Every product has a best before date printed on the packaging. As the manufacturer, we guarantee that the product will be in perfect condition until that date – but only if the storage guidelines (e.g. correct refrigeration temperature) are adhered to. If the temperature inside the fridge is set too high, this can shorten the shelf life of dairy products considerably. A clean fridge can also make food last for longer.
Most dairy products will still be edible even after the best before date. So don’t throw them away immediately! Instead, check the food using your senses:
First, check whether the appearance of the product has changed. Heavily discoloured layers on the surface would suggest bacterial growth. Mould can usually be identified as a black or green, furry layer. Any food that has gone mouldy should be thrown away. White layers on blue cheese or curd cheese, however, tend to be harmless.
After inspecting the appearance of the product, smell it. Some types of food spoilage can be identified if the item has an unusually acidic or pungent smell.
Last but not least, if the product still looks and smells OK, it is always worth tasting it. Fermented (= cultured) dairy products such as yogurt and sour cream can become more acidic the longer they are stored. This is because they contain live cultures that actively contribute towards the acidification process. Sliced and hard cheese can become firmer and tangier during storage. Soft cheeses such as camembert, but also cheese curd and mozzarella, tend to become softer the longer they are kept. If you don’t notice anything unusual about the appearance, smell and taste, you can usually consume dairy products long after the best before date. You’ll thereby do your own bit to reduce food waste – and it will also save you money!
Important! The best before date printed on dairy products must not be confused with the use-by date of highly perishable foods such as fresh meat and mince. Eating these types of food after the use-by date could be harmful to your health.