How to Tell if Dairy Products Have Gone Bad

Dairy products are essential to our balanced diet, however, they are also perishable items, which tend to go bad even if you keep it cold in the icebox. We see “sell by” dates or expiry dates on the label, but it should only be taken as a very rough estimate of the product’s shelf-life. The reason is, these dates are computed only under optimal conditions for the dairy edibles, so more often than not, the real expiration dates come before what the label indicates.

There are real dangers in consuming expired products, such as diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and fever. Determining if the food has gone bad is not that complicated, here are a few things to check for:

1. Smell

Your olfactory nerves are always the first ones to detect if your food has gone bad. A lot of dairy products contain eggs, and if you can tell if an egg is off by the way it smells, the same goes for dairy products which often give off a sour smell when it lapses its actual “best before” date. This is because bacteria are already propagating which releases a distinct smell. Fresh dairies are odorless while fresh milk products should not have any pungent scent.

2. Visual

Dairy products when gone bad will have molds present that will cause a change in its hue, a little yellowish, or some discoloration in its appearance. Milk will begin to have lumps along with the sour smell and other characteristics. Bread will easily develop molds after its expiry date as with cheese, but it is sometimes safe to remove the moldy part from a hard cheese as the spores will not have spread all throughout yet. But it doesn’t apply to the soft type and bread.

3. Consistency

The texture will also tell you if there’s something wrong with your dairy product. Yogurts, Greek yogurt especially, will show some curdling texture at the bottom. At this point, you might want to throw them away since it’s already starting to go bad. 


Milk that has gone bad is caused by the bacteria produced from lactic acid. And the lumps and slime in its texture are one of the signs that it has affected the entire contents. 

4. Taste Test

If you’re unsatisfied with the smell test, you can taste it, and if it tastes as sour as it smells then it’s already bad. Milk products like cheese and yogurt will have a certain distinct taste once it’s past its edible phase, it usually tastes like sour milk. 

5. Clear Liquid

Yogurt has live good bacteria that will keep it from getting spoiled for a time. This will act as its preservative for the product. However, if these cultures die, molds will begin to appear and there will be a fair amount of clear liquid on the surface. 

There you have it, some basic indicators for the various dairy products to see if they still have nutritional value or if it’s better to just throw them out. Fresh products are always best and it’s important to store only what you can consume at their peak condition. It’s advisable to choose a reliable source of dairy that assures the freshness of their products.