How to Keep Milk Safe and Cold

You know milk is an important part of a healthy diet because of its irreplaceable nutrient package, but how do you keep it safe at home or on the go? It is important for milk to always be stored at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for safety and taste, but how do you ensure that? Read our tips below.

At Home

  • Never store milk in the refrigerator door – the temperature is too variable. Milk is safest when stored on a shelf in the refrigerator. 
  • At mealtime, pour a glass of milk for each family member – then put the milk back in the fridge! Don’t leave your milk out on the table during dinner because warmer temperatures will reduce its freshness.
  • If you must leave milk out of the refrigerator, never leave it out for more than two hours – and if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, cut that down to just one hour.
  • If you pour a glass of milk (or a sippy cup or bottle) – never return that milk to the carton or jug. Once milk has been out of the fridge for two hours (or for one hour in hotter temperatures), throw it out.

At the Store

  • If you know you will be shopping for a lot of items, try to pick up your milk at the end of the shopping trip.
  • Head straight home from the grocery store to get all your perishable items back into the refrigerator as soon as possible. If you have a long drive or must stop somewhere on the way, use an insulated freezer bag.

On the Go

  • Pack an insulated lunch bag with a small ice pack so you can take cheese sticks, yogurt or single-serve milk chugs with you for an after-school or post-workout snack.

It doesn’t have to be hard to keep your milk cold and safe! When in doubt about whether your milk is cold enough, just buy a new carton or grab a fresh serving straight from the fridge!

By Jenna Allen, M.S., RDN

Jenna is a registered dietitian with a passion for communicating science in an approachable way. She has been part of the Dairy MAX team since 2008. When she isn't working, Jenna is trying out new recipes with her three kids and working on her food photography. Learn more about Jenna.

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