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Last Updated Sunday March 18 2018 11:45 PM IST

Watch out for unsafe milk products in summer

Dairy Development Officer, Kalpatta, Wayanad
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Milk Photo: Getty Images

Milk and its byproducts are tempting for the taste buds, but they will bring misery in summer unless stored properly. While we are used to checking the expiry date, we often ignore another equally important part: how the product has been stored.

Photo: Getty Images

Milk shake, falooda and milk sharbath are among favorites during the season. But one hardly ever checks how old the milk used in them is. No one can recognize if the milk is stale, because the mouth-watering products are loaded with a heavy dose of sweet elements, like ice cream, fruits and chocolates. One has to be extra cautious about such products. Remember, no food item can be as harmful as milk, if it gets spoiled. The quality of water used also matters.

Never take milk easy

Milk Photo: Getty Images

Those who buy milk from shops have a habit of keeping it outside the fridge, exposed to room temperature, thinking that it can stay out for a while as it has to be used anyway soon. But the milk could be found spoiled by the time it is kept for boiling.

Milk products like curd and butter also have such problems. It is not enough to simply check that the expiry date hasn't passed. Every product has a shelf life, a period of time after which it turns unfit for use. Not only that, it should not remain in the market anymore.

But one can get into trouble if one relies on the shelf life alone while making a purchase. The storing temperature is equally important to ensure quality. We need to look at how safely the product has been stored.

Milk Photo: Getty Images

The milk or curd packet clearly mentions how long they can be used, and at what temperature they can be preserved. We don't tend to read them!

These products essentially need cold storing, but can be seen kept in the sun on the wayside or outside shops. Milk and curd packets are fast-selling, but buyers should ensure that the shopkeepers store them cold.

Some tips

Lassi Photo: Getty Images

Be cautious while buying summer comforters like sip-up, ice cream, curd, lassi etc. Make sure that they are brought from trusted outlets, and are of good quality. It is also equally harmful if products that have passed the expiry date are stored in the freezer.

The milk packet normally carries a 'use by' date. That is the date by which it has to be used up. The place of storage and atmosphere are also to be considered.

Milk tea Photo: Getty Images

Salted butter is claimed to be fit for use for up to 12 months below 4 degree Celsius. It also means unsalted butter does not have such life time.

Products like tomato sauce and condensed milk have months of shelf life, but once opened, these have to be essentially stored in the fridge.

Buttermilk Photo: Getty Images

Curd, milk, buttermilk and lassi are also sold with the claim that they don't get spoiled quickly even in normal atmospheric temperature. Be careful. Milk can turn into curd normally in six to 14 hours under normal temperature. After that it needs to be necessarily cold stored. Otherwise fermentation, or the conversion of lactose in milk into lactic acid, will make the product sour and cause the packet to bulge because of gases filling up. If milk or curd does not get spoiled in spite of long storage in atmospheric temperature, it can be taken as fake.It is better to avoid packed food products that are not labelled.

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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