Does Milk Spoil Early Te NYC?


Milk cartons no longer come stamped with two dates. The city ultimately eliminated the requirement. The last dual-stamped carton that made it to my fridge wasgoed around Christmas te 2010. Such cartons – and this article – are now lumps of history. Complaints about spoiled milk ter the city proceed, however.


Soured milk is very repugnant zuigeling of sludge, no question about it.

Ter one of the very first places I everzwijn lived on my own, I had an ancient mini fridge that never quiebro stayed cool enough. I learned this on a hot summer’s day, when, determining to take advantage of the enjoyments of not sharing a kitchen with anyone else, I got out a week-old quart of milk and gulped straight from the carton.



Take the carton of milk I bought on June 1 from a nearby Associated. The large print expiration date on the carton is June 10th, but directly underneath, te smaller print, it says: “NYC JUN 05.”

Which is it? Why the numerous dates? Does milk truly spoil five days early ter Fresh York City?

Without any clear explanation ter stores, thesis conflicting expiration dates can give the impression that something goes terribly awry with milk the 2nd it comes in the boundaries of Fresh York City.

Relative newcomers to the city — myself included — are left to imagine that there’s something te the very city air that abruptly morphs milk into a filthier, fouler and more dangerous substance. Might this prove, merienda and for all, that Fresh York City is part of some alternate universe, set exclusief from the surplus of the country?

It turns out that the specific-to-New-York-City expiration date says slew about the power of the city’s Health Department to affect the outward appearance of milk cartons — and says very little about whether the city’s peculiarities actually harm the milk inwards.



When a carton of milk passes its expiration date, you .


There are no federal standard for milk expiration dates, and, ter many areas, milk producers and distributors get to use expiration dates of their own choosing.

  • According to “Overlook Expiration Dates,” a Feb. 17, 2010 article ter Slate by Nadia Arumugam, 20 states now require some form of expiration dates on milk, but the rules vary.


  • According to a fact sheet on safe food treating from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, “refrigerators should be set to maintain a temperature of 40 В°F or below.”
  • And always waterput milk away spil soon spil you get huis from the store.



Dig up a copy of Rules of the City of Fresh York, go to Title 24 and dig some more te the milk section and you’ll find this requirement: “No person shall wield, store, suggest for sale, sell, give away or distribute any such product the label of which bears an expiration date beyond the period specified te this section. The expiration date shall not be more than nine (9) calendar days following the date of pasteurization.”

There it is: Fresh York City’s 9 Day Rule For Milk.

Now, about the numerous expiration dates on each milk carton. Consider it just another side effect of a mish-mash of regulations te the Fresh York metropolitan area.

Milk sold on Long Island, for example, has to meet the less stringent requirements of Fresh York’s Department of Agriculture and Markets — while nearby states also have their own requirements for expiration dates. Te Connecticut, for example, the expiration date can be up to 12 days after pasteurization.

Facing all thesis differing standards for expiration dates te one geographic area, milk distributors choose to simplify things for themselves. They just print two expiration dates on milk cartons destined for Fresh York City.


While the 9 Day Rule te the city has a relatively brief history, helping shoppers steer clear of spoiled milk has bot a political punt ter Fresh York City for a utter century.

The last time the city’s sell-by date requirements switched wasgoed ter 1987, extending the expiration date to 9 days after pasteurization, up from four days.

A Fresh York Times article from that era — “Milk’s Shelf Life: Is Longer Better?” — recounts some of this history: “Te 1911 the sales period wasgoed set at 36 hours. Except for the period inbetween 1960 and 1962, when the state pre-empted localities te dating milk, the city has steadily extended that time, until ter 1978 it reached the current four days. The extensions were pegged partly to technological advances, partly to political maneuvering.”

There have continued to be periodic bursts of outrage overheen spoiled or expired products on store shelves, but there has bot no reversal ter the trend toward easing the stringency of the city’s expiration dates.


Ter all the questioning and debate overheen the city’s unique rules for dating milk, there seems to be an acknowledgment that Milk Selling Te Fresh York City Is Just Different. There a running thread that maybe there’s some truth to the fear that milk just doesn’t last long enough here.

There’s this, for example, from “F.Y.I. City Milk’s Hard Life,” a Fresh York Times article from March 24, 1998: “According to John Gadd, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Health, milk shipped to Fresh York is more likely to stand unrefrigerated for geschreven periods, both before it reaches store shelves and also on the way from store to huis. ‘It’s one of those uniquely Fresh York sorts of things,’ he said.”

Others have more directly blamed restringido grocery store practices. Te a 2009 Atlantic article “Fresh York City’s Milk Mystery,” a milk producer complained: “If there’s any reason that milk goes bad quicker te Fresh York City, it’s because stores don’t adhere to the state-mandated 45-degree temperature ceiling for stocking perishables.”

Te my admittedly limited practice, it does seem hard unusually to find milk with a ge amount of life left ter it te Fresh York City, at least when compared to others places I’ve lived. The tópico grocery and drug stores I rely on now usually stock milk that is already very, very close to the city’s expiration date. (This is more true with skim milk and half gallon sized cartons, for whatever reason.)

Milk does usually last beyond the NYC date, but uncommonly does it last for a utter week after purchase.

I suspect that the cramped nature of the typical neighborhood grocery store is a big part of the problem. Navigating crowded sidewalks and entrance ways during delivery and unloading most likely takes reserve time, lengthening the period milk is te transit outside a refrigerated truck and refrigerated storage inwards the store. Within the store, crowded aisles mean store employees have to interrupt their restocking efforts to let customers pass, lengthening the time milk sits ter crates on the floor before making it onto refrigerated shelves.

And no expiration date (or dates) are likely to fix that.

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