Milk Monitor

This was the job we all wanted when I was at school. It meant that you might get extra’s because any left at the end of the day was yours to dispose of.

Here is the modern day equivalent in my office where we have  a small kitchen area with a full blown professional coffee machine, hot water urn and a fridge to keep the milk in.

Initial e-mail

Hi all

New signs have been put up in the large kitchen fridge advising you what row to take milk from first. If you see the signs have fallen down on the bottom of the fridge, please be helpful and return them back to their original position. The Take First section is the first glass shelf in the fridge and the Take Last section is the third shelf down.

Kind regards.

Responding e-mail

Obviously not enough work for someone with a brain the size of a planet. Idle hands etc. etc.


As an alternative to filling the fridge with signs and introducing all sorts of procedures around packing/extracting bottles of milk can I make the following suggestion.

Rather than just ignoring milk that is past its use by date, purely on the basis of the use by date, and opening a new bottle (thereby wasting otherwise good milk) try the following:

If  todays date is less than or equal to the ‘use by’ date

use milk freely

else todays date is later than ‘use by’ date

then the following simple steps will help you determine if the milk is off or not:

  • shake it, if it does not move then it’s off
  • look at it, if it has blocks floating in it it’s off
  • smell it, if it smells off, it’s off (for those of you that don’t know what milk smells like when it’s off a good guide is that it smells like something you would not want to add to your tea/coffee)
  • if it passes all those tests then chances are it’s okay. If however, you pour the suspect milk into your tea or coffee and it tastes funny then make a fresh tea/coffee using different milk. If the tea/coffee still tastes funny your cup is dirty, if it tastes okay then yes, it’s possible the milk is off, but even after that one sip you will live so don’t call the first aider just yet.

In the interests of reducing unnecessary food waste I contacted Cravendale Dairy. They assure me that milk is unable to read the ‘use by’ date on bottle labels (apparently the print can not be seen from within the bottle through the back of the labels) and so it has no idea when it is supposed to turn sour. They tell me that on average milk will last 7 days from the time the bottle is opened as long as it is stored properly.

If you wish to respond feel free to come chat or otherwise be email considerate and do not ‘respond all’.


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