Source : Tim Fields
Although most people have the good sense to keep milk refrigerated, how safe would it be to consume after being left out of the fridge?
Well especially for children in particular drinking milk that has been left out of the fridge can be dangerous and result in food poisoning. In order to prevent food poisoning from milk consumption it is vital to store milk correctly and keep it refrigerated.
The reason why drinking milk left out for too long can cause food poisoning is because this allows bacteria to multiply. Bacteria like salmonella, listeria and E.coli are commonly found in most foods, but leaving food out of the fridge or freezer allows this bacteria to multiply at a rate that if consumed can cause illness.
People that are most at risk of developing food borne illness are pregnant women, children and the elderly because their immune systems may be compromised.
The environmental factors that make milk more prone to developing bacteria include being left at room temperature which promotesbacterial multiplication and the longer the milk is left out of the fridge, the longer bacteria have to multiply and cause sickness if consumed.
Some of the things to look for to determine if milk has been contaminated is a sour smell and the fact that it has been left out of the fridge for an extended period of time. Sometimes milk may not smell strongly or be discoloured but may be contaminated.
There is also the risk of milk curdling, which may occur due to bacteria or yeast being present in the milk. Always check the milk before consuming it that it hasn’t curdled and ensure your children do so as well before drinking it.
When you are not using milk it should be kept in the fridge because if it is left out all day, the chances are that it will spoil. By refrigerating milk you ensure that harmful bacteria do not have the optimum temperature to multiply and cause sickness to anyone who consumes it. Although refrigeration won’t keep bacteria from growing entirely, it will slow its growth.
Also do not drink past its expiry date. When milk reaches its expiration date, this signals a time when the bacteria could reach a high point and beyond this point they can cause illness.
Even if milk does not show signs of being spoiled or curdled, if it has been left out of the fridge for an hour that it is dangerous to consume. Milk left out longer than one hour could cause food poisoning, even if it does not smell or have curds or visible signs of contamination.
People who consume contaminated milk may suffer from an upset stomach, stomach cramping, diarrhea and fever. Most often the symptoms will die down after a few days but in serious cases you may need to be hospitalised, especially if it affects children. The diarrhea and vomiting will allow the child’s body to rid itself of the bacteria. If the diarrhea lasts for more than 7 days and the person suffers from severe dehydration they should seek medical attention.