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Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese: How Long Can They Be Kept And Consumed?

Is it necessary to respect the expiration date of dairy products?

Yoghurts, cheeses and milk: these are all everyday products in our refrigerators. However, it can happen that the expiry date is surpassed even though the product is unopened. Also, once opened, it is indicated that the products must be consumed within three days. Do we really have to strictly follow this rule? Read on to find out.

Is it necessary to respect the expiration date?

If you have dairy products in your refrigerator, that have not yet been opened, but the expiry date is approaching, you do not have to throw them all away. Make a distinction between the 'use by' date, which must be respected, and the 'best before' date, which means that the product can be consumed, but its appearance or taste qualities may be altered.

The best thing to do is to trust your instincts: look at the appearance of the product and smell it. If everything looks normal, you can eat it.

Some dairy products can be safely consumed long after the expiry date:

  • Plain yoghurt: 1 month
  • Cottage cheese: 1 month
  • Pasteurised milk: 2 months
  • Soft cheeses: 2 weeks
  • Hard cheeses: 2 weeks to 1 month

You can still consume plain yoghurt one month after the expiry date. The same goes for cottage cheese.

Consuming open products

When opening a bottle of milk or cutting into cheese, it is recommended to finish them within a few days. The time it takes to consume an opened product varies:

  • Crème fraîche: 5 days
  • Pasteurised milk: 3 days to 1 week
  • Fresh cheeses (mascarpone, ricotta, plain cottage cheese): 1 week
  • Ripened cheese: 2 weeks to 1 month
  • Butter: 3 weeks
  • Hard cheeses: 2 weeks to 1 month

The important thing is to look at the appearance of the product. If it smells good and its appearance has not changed too much, you can consume it without any problem. If in doubt, throw it away.

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You should also know that if your product is kept at the right temperature, in the fridge, well stored, it can be kept longer.

Consuming an expired product is not a big deal, but you will probably have some intestinal discomfort. Nothing very nasty, but rather unpleasant.

By James Guttridge
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