Received idea: my unopened carton of milk is best kept in the refrigerator

Back from the supermarket: it's time to tidy up. Frozen and fresh products first, then produce from the cupboard. What to do with the milk carton? Perhaps you reflexively place it in the refrigerator, yet on the shelf, if the milk bottles are placed in the refrigerator, in cartons, this does not seem necessary.

The bottle in the fridge, the brick in the cupboard

At the pasteurization stage (essential for making the milk compliant with marketing standards), the milk is heated to high temperature, which kills any trace of pathogenic bacteria without altering the nutritional properties of the milk.

If the milk is in a carton, it is because it has been pasteurized at ultra high temperature (UHT), then hermetically sealed in an airtight carton. A method which allows milk to be stored at room temperature until it is opened. As a reminder, once opened, the carton of milk must be refrigerated and consumed within 72 hours. Otherwise, bacteria may develop there upon contact with air entering the container. Conversely, if the milk is bottled, it is because it has been pasteurized at a lower temperature. Refrigeration is therefore necessary to ensure complete preservation of the product.

Unopened, the carton of milk does not keep “better”, only longer

As you will have understood, placing the milk carton at room temperature and in a dry place until it is first opened is enough. In a cool place, bacteria can hardly grow. Still closed, placing the carton in the refrigerator will therefore only be a tip to extend the shelf life of the milk. If you opt for this ultra-safe method, think about the correct methods of storing food in the refrigerator and make sure to place the brick in its coldest part. It will maintain all its freshness there.

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