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  #1  
Old 06-10-2009, 11:46 PM
MOIDALIZE MOIDALIZE is offline
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If I boiled spoiled milk, could I safely drink it?

Assume that I can withstand the taste.
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  #2  
Old 06-11-2009, 12:08 AM
UDS UDS is offline
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What makes you think you couldn't safely drink it without boiling?
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:22 AM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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From what I understand, it's not the botulism organism that causes illness, but the botulism organism's waste. Boiling does not neutralize this waste.

I would guess that the same thing would apply to spoiled milk, but I'm purely speculating here.
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:41 AM
Anaglyph Anaglyph is offline
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Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
From what I understand, it's not the botulism organism that causes illness, but the botulism organism's waste. Boiling does not neutralize this waste.

I would guess that the same thing would apply to spoiled milk, but I'm purely speculating here.
Clostridium botulinum, the organism that is responsible for botulism, is an obligatory anaerobic organism. Therefore it grows preferentially in improperly canned goods. If an opened bottle of milk turns sour, your most likely culprits are lactobacilli, organisms which as pure cultures are used for the industrial production of sour milk, yoghurt, sauerkraut or Kimchi
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  #5  
Old 06-11-2009, 12:47 AM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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Assuming you don't retch when you try to drink it, you can drink without boiling it.

I used to have me a cat that would wait till the milk in her dish curdled then she'd eat the curds. She loved it.

I have heard bodybuilders talk that the fermentation is actually good for your system. But as you know they will eat a lot of weird stuff.

On the other hand did you ever drink non-spoiled boiled milk. Once milk is boiled the taste is ruined. That's why they don't sterilize it but homogonize it.
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  #6  
Old 06-11-2009, 01:08 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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I've used soured milk occasionally for baking or pancakes without any issues. That's a place where the sourness is actually okay for the dish.

Looking online, though, it seems that, while there are plenty of recipes and uses for unintentionally soured pasteurized milk out there, there are conflicting accounts over whether it is safe. There is a discussion on this site which seems to conclude that it's fine.
Wikipedia's entry claims souring in pasteurized milk is not fine.

My anecdotal evidence is that I've never encountered any problems with pasteurized milk that has gone off, but I'm wondering what the straight dope on this really is.
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  #7  
Old 06-11-2009, 09:40 AM
MOIDALIZE MOIDALIZE is offline
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Lynn's post kind of touched on what I was thinking about when I asked this question. Boiling is a way to kill off harmful organisms, but whatever you boiled would still have a bunch of dead bacterial corpses floating around in it. Spoiled milk would presumably be chock full of nasties. Could it reach a point of being so spoiled that it becomes beyond boiling?
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  #8  
Old 06-11-2009, 10:16 AM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I've used soured milk occasionally for baking or pancakes without any issues.
Seconded. When I was a kid my Ma would use milk that went sour to make pudding (the good kind that's cooked, not instant). Nobody ever got sick or noticed anything tasting funny.
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  #9  
Old 06-11-2009, 11:08 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MOIDALIZE View Post
Lynn's post kind of touched on what I was thinking about when I asked this question. Boiling is a way to kill off harmful organisms, but whatever you boiled would still have a bunch of dead bacterial corpses floating around in it. Spoiled milk would presumably be chock full of nasties. Could it reach a point of being so spoiled that it becomes beyond boiling?
If you read this thread carefully, particularly posts No. 4 and 6, you'll see that spoiling is not related to an increase of the "nasties" that will make you sick. Spoiled milk is edible. I know. When I was a kid, I had a whole bowl of spoiled milk with cereal. No adverse effects.

Think about this -- foods people eat all the time -- sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, Hershey's chocolate -- are all essentially spoiled milk.

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Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
On the other hand did you ever drink non-spoiled boiled milk. Once milk is boiled the taste is ruined. That's why they don't sterilize it but homogonize it.
You mean they pasteurize it -- heating it to less-than-boiling levels. Homogenization is about preventing the fat from separating out.
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  #10  
Old 06-11-2009, 11:26 AM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Anecdote -- I am a cheap SOB, and I use just-past-the-date milk in cereal fairly regularly (maybe once or twice a month). Been doing this for several years. Haven't noticed any ill effects.
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  #11  
Old 06-11-2009, 11:28 AM
MOIDALIZE MOIDALIZE is offline
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Originally Posted by acsenray View Post
If you read this thread carefully, particularly posts No. 4 and 6, you'll see that spoiling is not related to an increase of the "nasties" that will make you sick. Spoiled milk is edible. I know. When I was a kid, I had a whole bowl of spoiled milk with cereal. No adverse effects.
Are you saying spoiled milk never contains harmful bacteria?
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  #12  
Old 06-11-2009, 11:35 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Originally Posted by MOIDALIZE View Post
Are you saying spoiled milk never contains harmful bacteria?
No, in the same way that I am not saying that unspoiled milk never contains harmful bacteria.

I'm saying that the fact of it's being spoiled is not an indication that there is a likelihood of more harmful bacteria than if it had not been spoiled. It's merely an indication of the presence of lactobacilli, which are generally not harmful.

I forgot to address this point.

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whatever you boiled would still have a bunch of dead bacterial corpses floating around in it
What do you think pasteurization does? Absolutely fresh milk out of the cow is full of live and dead bacteria. Pasteurization converts a significant proportion of the live harmful bacteria to bacterial corpses. Live and dead bacteria are everywhere all the time, including in perfectly good, just purchased milk.

Last edited by Acsenray; 06-11-2009 at 11:38 AM..
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  #13  
Old 06-11-2009, 11:37 AM
phreesh phreesh is offline
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Yeah. This is against everything my mom ever told me. Now, I realize that not all spoiled milk will kill/sicken people, but the stories I've been told equate spoiled milk with hamburger disease - sure, you may not get sick if you don't properly cook your burgers, but do it enough and you'll get sick. If you drink spoiled milk enough, it will make you sick.

This is really interesting and I eagerly await the straight dope - is there nothing dangerous in spoiled milk?
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  #14  
Old 06-11-2009, 11:45 AM
MOIDALIZE MOIDALIZE is offline
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Originally Posted by acsenray View Post
What do you think pasteurization does? Absolutely fresh milk out of the cow is full of live and dead bacteria. Pasteurization converts a significant proportion of the live harmful bacteria to bacterial corpses. Live and dead bacteria are everywhere all the time, including in perfectly good, just purchased milk.
I get that. I'm asking if there can ever be a point where bacteria have so thoroughly taken over that even if you boiled it and killed all the bacteria it still wouldn't be safe to drink.
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  #15  
Old 06-11-2009, 12:21 PM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Originally Posted by MOIDALIZE View Post
I get that. I'm asking if there can ever be a point where bacteria have so thoroughly taken over that even if you boiled it and killed all the bacteria it still wouldn't be safe to drink.
IANAD or a microbiologist ... but my understanding is that, absent production of specific toxins, ingestion of 100% pure dead-bacteria paté (no fillers) would be absolutely, completely safe.
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  #16  
Old 06-11-2009, 12:35 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Which makes me wonder -- What would a loaf of pure, dead bacteria look like?
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  #17  
Old 06-11-2009, 12:48 PM
constanze constanze is offline
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It depends on the type of milk. Full fat milk, non-homogenized milk will turn into thick-milk that's usually safe to eat and has been a staple for centuries. If you want to be sure that the right "good" bacteria are inside, you can add a starter from thick milk or similar. Then only the "good" bacteria will multiply.
However, if you let homogenized - where the fat has been seperated into tiny particles - and pasteurized milk stand around too long, it will turn into a different kind of rotten milk. It tastes badly, and while I don't know if it's dangerous, I don't like to drink it because of the bad taste.
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  #18  
Old 06-11-2009, 01:06 PM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Originally Posted by acsenray View Post
Which makes me wonder -- What would a loaf of pure, dead bacteria look like?
Basically like teeth scrapings -- yum!

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Dental plaque is biofilm (usually colorless) that builds up on the teeth. If not removed regularly, it can lead to dental cavities (caries) or periodontal problems (such as gingivitis).

The microorganisms that form the biofilm are almost entirely bacteria (mainly Streptococcus mutans and anaerobes), with the composition varying by location in the mouth. Examples of such anaerobes include fusobacterium and Actinobacteria.
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  #19  
Old 06-11-2009, 01:18 PM
muchmark muchmark is offline
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As a kid my grandmother would make an Indian desert similar to rasmalai with spoiled milk.
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  #20  
Old 06-11-2009, 01:19 PM
lazybratsche lazybratsche is online now
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Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
Yep. I can confirm this... in fact I just made up a few plates of dead bacteria to feed to my worms. In larger volumes, the stuff has a consistency like caulk. Or peanut butter.

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IANAD or a microbiologist ... but my understanding is that, absent production of specific toxins, ingestion of 100% pure dead-bacteria paté (no fillers) would be absolutely, completely safe.
True, except there are plenty of cases where there will always be toxins. Staphylococcus (present on your skin, and in some amount on every bit of food you eat) always produce endotoxins. These happen to be structural components for the bacteria, not used to infect or harm us, but they're compounds that are recognized by our immune system as foreign. Get a high enough quantity, and the endotoxins provoke our bodies to empty out our digestive system by any means necessary.
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  #21  
Old 06-11-2009, 01:24 PM
astro astro is offline
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Mongols conquered much of the world with it.

Last edited by astro; 06-11-2009 at 01:26 PM..
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  #22  
Old 06-11-2009, 01:26 PM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Originally Posted by lazybratsche View Post
These [toxins]happen to be structural components for the bacteria, not used to infect or harm us, but they're compounds that are recognized by our immune system as foreign.
Is that what bacterial toxins typically are? I've been thinking that some bacteria are actively excreting a discrete substance that's poisonous to humans.

If the toxins are instead the structural components of the bacteria ... why does heat not denature them the way protein structures are typically denatured by cooking? Or is just a case of not enough heat -- they can take 300 degrees, but not the surface of the sun?
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  #23  
Old 06-11-2009, 02:17 PM
lazybratsche lazybratsche is online now
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Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
Is that what bacterial toxins typically are? I've been thinking that some bacteria are actively excreting a discrete substance that's poisonous to humans.
Some types of toxin are specifically created by bacteria to poison us. That class of toxins is more specifically referred to as an exotoxin. The really nasty toxins are all exotoxins, and they'll do things like punch holes in cell membranes or block signals in the nervous system.

Confusingly, enterotoxins are a subset of exotoxins, and neither are the same thing as endotoxins.

Quote:
If the toxins are instead the structural components of the bacteria ... why does heat not denature them the way protein structures are typically denatured by cooking? Or is just a case of not enough heat -- they can take 300 degrees, but not the surface of the sun?
Not all proteins are easily denatured. Some are very sturdy and won't unfold even at very high heat, others will readily fold back up at lower temperatures. For toxins, some are heat-stable, others are not. Obviously, hot enough will destroy anything, but some proteins will stand anything up to incineration.

In the case of common bacterial endotoxins, they're not actually proteins, but complex arrangements of lipids and branching polysaccharides. These form part of the cell wall of gram-negative bacteria, so they're built to be sturdy.
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  #24  
Old 06-11-2009, 04:34 PM
chique chique is offline
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Originally Posted by muchmark View Post
As a kid my grandmother would make an Indian desert similar to rasmalai with spoiled milk.
And my German great-grandmother would cover a bucket of milk with cheesecloth (to keep out the dust), set it someplace warm for a few days, and serve cottage cheese with dinner.

This was with raw milk. I'm not actually typing this; my grandfather was killed off by microbes 80 years ago.
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  #25  
Old 06-11-2009, 04:38 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
Anecdote -- I am a cheap SOB, and I use just-past-the-date milk in cereal fairly regularly (maybe once or twice a month). Been doing this for several years. Haven't noticed any ill effects.
Slightly past the date milk doesn't necessarily imply it's spoiled, especially if properly refrigerated.
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  #26  
Old 06-11-2009, 04:46 PM
phreesh phreesh is offline
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Awesome thread full of great answers. Well done, Straight Dope!
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  #27  
Old 06-11-2009, 04:47 PM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Originally Posted by FoieGrasIsEvil View Post
Slightly past the date milk doesn't necessarily imply it's spoiled, especially if properly refrigerated.
Correct. I am talking about instances in which the sour smell has kicked in, however. It's milk my wife summarily throws out if she gets to it first.
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  #28  
Old 06-12-2009, 01:31 PM
Teacake Teacake is offline
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My little old Irish granny used to leave a bottle of ordinary milk in the fridge until it went bad enough to separate, then strained it and used the thin part to make the most delicious soda bread. She lived to be 93, I think. All her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are doing well so far.

Last edited by Teacake; 06-12-2009 at 01:32 PM..
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  #29  
Old 06-12-2009, 01:38 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Perhaps there's some value in specifying "illness" -- pathogenic infection or short-term vomiting/diarhhoea?
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  #30  
Old 06-12-2009, 02:15 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Originally Posted by MOIDALIZE View Post
Are you saying spoiled milk never contains harmful bacteria?
Spoiled milk may contain harmful bacteria, but that would be due to contamination of the milk, not growth of the bacteria causing the "spoilage".

For what it's worth, American milk is the next best thing to sterile. It's so clean that my Microbiology teacher had to inoculate it with bacteria from our lab so that we could get any positive bacterial counts on it at all. Even leaving the milk out for several nights didn't get the bacterial counts high enough to count with a 48 hour culture on agar.

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Originally Posted by phreesh View Post
Yeah. This is against everything my mom ever told me. Now, I realize that not all spoiled milk will kill/sicken people, but the stories I've been told equate spoiled milk with hamburger disease - sure, you may not get sick if you don't properly cook your burgers, but do it enough and you'll get sick. If you drink spoiled milk enough, it will make you sick.

This is really interesting and I eagerly await the straight dope - is there nothing dangerous in spoiled milk?
The bacteria in hamburger that makes you ill is e. coli. While there's theoretically a danger of e. coli getting into the milk supply, it's one that's specifically tested for by the USDA. And, like I said, our teacher had to add it to our milk samples so we could learn how to test for it.

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Originally Posted by MOIDALIZE View Post
I get that. I'm asking if there can ever be a point where bacteria have so thoroughly taken over that even if you boiled it and killed all the bacteria it still wouldn't be safe to drink.
If it was contaminated by e.coli or clostridium, sure. I probably wouldn't try it if it was visibly contaminated with mold colonies, either. Regular "spoiled" milk (sour smell, clots or chunks) is safe to consume.

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Originally Posted by acsenray View Post
Which makes me wonder -- What would a loaf of pure, dead bacteria look like?
Most of the bacteria we can culture in large enough quantities to make a "loaf" of form white, ivory, or yellow colonies. Serratia marcenscens makes awesome red colonies. But why stop there? Fluorescent bacterial colony art, anyone?
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  #31  
Old 06-12-2009, 02:21 PM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is offline
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This could cause the total collapse of the yogurt and cheese industries!

Seriously, different types of cheese are simply milk allowed to spoil in different ways.
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  #32  
Old 06-12-2009, 02:26 PM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
Correct. I am talking about instances in which the sour smell has kicked in, however. It's milk my wife summarily throws out if she gets to it first.
A question to your wife: Does she drink yoghurt, use sour cream or eat Quark? Because all those contain the same lactibacilli as sour milk.

Secondly, if you "started" sour milk by adding the right bacteria (this is how yoghurt is made, btw: you heat the milk to kill the unwanted bacteria, add the "good" lactobacteria, and let them start the fermentation process.) to be sure it's safe - would she at least try it?

I can understand not liking the taste, because taste differs, although many people like the refreshing part of the sour milk esp. in summer. You can also eat the thick parts in your cereal or as a dessert - the Greeks add honey to yoghurt in summer, and drink yoghurt and sour milk drinks for refreshment, instead of Cola.

If she throws away a lot of milk without tasting it because of exaggerated fear, and if you don't like the taste either, then I would suggest you change your shopping habits to buy less milk in the first place to reduce spoilage.
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  #33  
Old 06-12-2009, 02:35 PM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by DrFidelius View Post
Seriously, different types of cheese are simply milk allowed to spoil in different ways.
Well, no technically. Joghurt and all based on it is made with bacteria (the same fermentation process that turns white cabbage into Sauerkraut and wet grass into Silage, btw, which is why we call it lactic acid fermentation).

But normal cheese (I don't know what chemical ingredients are used for aberrations like Kraft and similar "cheese-like" substance, I mean real cheese here) is done by adding rennant, an enzyme collected either from calves stomachs, or from genetically altered bacteria (for vegetarians) or from certain plants (rare, for those who are against GM, too).

And of course there's special cheese with mold on it! On purpose, so it's the right kind and not any old mold.
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  #34  
Old 03-28-2010, 11:08 PM
Banquo Banquo is offline
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Is it pertinent to this discussion weather or not we are talking about raw or pasteurized milk? As I understand it, the bacteria and enzymes present in each differs greatly
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  #35  
Old 03-28-2010, 11:17 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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I make cream of wheat for breakfast. You bring the milk to a boil (froths up in the pan) and whisk in the cream of wheat. Takes 2 minutes to cook.

I've tried it with milk that has soured. The cream of wheat didn't taste good and it gave me the shits afterward. I learned the hard way not to use bad milk. The milk I used was only a couple days soured. I can only imagine what curdled milk would do to someones gastrointestinal tract.

Last edited by aceplace57; 03-28-2010 at 11:19 PM..
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  #36  
Old 03-29-2010, 12:13 AM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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There was a major food poisoning incident in 2000, from milk sold by the Yukijirushi company in Japan. It was caused by staphylococci contamination in the processing plant. The contamination occurred before pasteurization, so the staphylococci were killed. But enough toxins remained in the milk to make over 13,000 consumers sick. (The only English-language cite I found is this abstract, but I think that's clear enough.)

Last edited by scr4; 03-29-2010 at 12:14 AM..
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  #37  
Old 03-29-2010, 12:31 AM
even sven even sven is online now
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I used to use boiled unpasteurized sour milk (bought out of gourds from nomads!) to make ricotta cheese on a regular basis- you don't have to add any extra acid, so it's much easier than the normal way, just boil and strain. Yummy!

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Originally Posted by constanze View Post
But normal cheese (I don't know what chemical ingredients are used for aberrations like Kraft and similar "cheese-like" substance, I mean real cheese here) is done by adding rennant, an enzyme collected either from calves stomachs, or from genetically altered bacteria (for vegetarians) or from certain plants (rare, for those who are against GM, too).
Lactobacteria is responsible for the fermentation of cheese, not rennet. Rennet simply lowers the temperature at which curds will form to a point that some backteria can survive to continue the fermenting process as the cheese ripens. This is why fresh cheeses like paneer do not have the sharp tang that a hard cheese will have.
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  #38  
Old 03-29-2010, 12:32 AM
Alan Smithee Alan Smithee is online now
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It seems to be a general rule that the things that make us ill and the things that cause visible spoilage to food are more-or-less non-overlapping groups.

Of course, if food has visibly spoiled, that's a sign that it has been kept in conditions that allow bacteria or mold to propagate, but that could be true even without visible spoilage.

People die every year from drinking raw (unpasteurized) milk that has been found to contain pathogens. Of course, many times as many drink raw milk without ill effect. Drinking pasteurized milk that is no longer sterile (though technically, despite [b]WhyNot's experience, pasteurized milk is not necessarily sterile) would seem to be running the same sort of risk. The type of bacteria milk is most hospitable to is completely harmless and possibly beneficial. But you don't know that's what got in there.

Having said that, I'm neither very young nor elderly and not otherwise immunocompromised, so most common food pathogens won't cause me more than a couple days diarrhea. I therefore feel safe eating spoiled milk, and in fact the best cottage cheese I've ever tasted was made by leaving a jar of raw milk out for several days.

If you're more risk averse, you can easily use a starter from some yogurt or buttermilk you buy at the store.
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  #39  
Old 03-29-2010, 02:16 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
It seems to be a general rule that the things that make us ill and the things that cause visible spoilage to food are more-or-less non-overlapping groups.

Of course, if food has visibly spoiled, that's a sign that it has been kept in conditions that allow bacteria or mold to propagate, but that could be true even without visible spoilage.
I wish the SDMB could just get this. Any 'Is my [whatever] still safe to eat?' thread is almost guaranteed to get a pile of (wrong) answers to the effect 'if it smells/looks good, it's OK'.
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  #40  
Old 03-29-2010, 02:46 AM
dogeman dogeman is offline
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Originally Posted by even sven View Post
I used to use boiled unpasteurized sour milk (bought out of gourds from nomads!) to make ricotta cheese on a regular basis- you don't have to add any extra acid, so it's much easier than the normal way, just boil and strain. Yummy!
[nitpick]Are you talking about straining the curds and eating them? That's not ricotta, ricotta is made from the strained whey.[/nitpick]
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  #41  
Old 03-29-2010, 05:35 AM
si_blakely si_blakely is offline
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Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
People die every year from drinking raw (unpasteurized) milk that has been found to contain pathogens. Of course, many times as many drink raw milk without ill effect. Drinking pasteurized milk that is no longer sterile (though technically, despite WhyNot's experience, pasteurized milk is not necessarily sterile) would seem to be running the same sort of risk. The type of bacteria milk is most hospitable to is completely harmless and possibly beneficial. But you don't know that's what got in there.
And it is the risks of using unpasteurised milk that has lead many countries to ban the use of raw milk for cheese. There is now a growing movement to get these restrictions relaxed - not only are there better systems for detecting pathogens in the raw milk before use, the end products can be checked for toxins as well. The stats seem to indicate that you are more likely to get food poisoning from a processed pasteurised cheese (infected during processing) than from a properly prepared raw milk cheese.

Si
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  #42  
Old 03-29-2010, 05:51 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by Teacake View Post
My little old Irish granny used to leave a bottle of ordinary milk in the fridge until it went bad enough to separate, then strained it and used the thin part to make the most delicious soda bread. She lived to be 93, I think. All her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are doing well so far.
We should have introduced her to my Mom back when Dad was still alive, then; they could have split the milk. The thick part is called "requesón" in Spanish, and Dad loved it: a spoiled liter of milk meant a treat for him.
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  #43  
Old 03-29-2010, 06:18 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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Tuberculosis can be contracted from raw milk cheese. You don't need to try and argue that it doesn't happen all the time, because like many nastiest you can catch that isn't the point. You can get tuberculosis from raw milk and raw milk products along with other diseases that would have died during pasteurization.
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  #44  
Old 03-29-2010, 06:21 AM
even sven even sven is online now
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You can also contract tuberculosis by breathing.

Just saying.
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  #45  
Old 03-29-2010, 06:41 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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You can also contract tuberculosis by breathing.

Just saying.
It's irrelevant to the raw milk vector.

Just saying.
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  #46  
Old 03-29-2010, 08:46 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Originally Posted by Banquo View Post
Is it pertinent to this discussion weather or not we are talking about raw or pasteurized milk? As I understand it, the bacteria and enzymes present in each differs greatly
No cite, but I'm sure I have read that spoiled unpasteurised milk is safer than spoiled pasteurised milk, because pasterurisation kills off the "good" spoilage organisms (which turn your milk into yoghurt) and lets other, potentially harmful, bacteria multiply instead.

Any truth to that, milk experts?
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  #47  
Old 03-29-2010, 10:03 AM
groman groman is offline
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Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
It's irrelevant to the raw milk vector.

Just saying.
It's irrelevant to the vector itself, but it does put the relevance of that vector in context. You're a lot more likely to get tuberculosis by breathing than by consuming raw milk.
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Old 03-29-2010, 10:31 AM
ivn1188 ivn1188 is offline
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
I wish the SDMB could just get this. Any 'Is my [whatever] still safe to eat?' thread is almost guaranteed to get a pile of (wrong) answers to the effect 'if it smells/looks good, it's OK'.
I tell you what. When the SDMB gets that botulism is incredibly rare in anything but canned goods or other anaerobic environments and that staph toxin poisoning is mostly confined to food kept in the "danger zone" for a long time, and that the vast majority of cases are foodborne illness, not food poisoning, we'll have a meeting of the minds.

But in any case, almost any food can cause foodborne illness/poisoning. These questions aren't "Is my container of X safe?" nor are they "Is it possible that this will kill me?" The answer to those questions are always "I don't know" and "Yes".

These sorts of OPs can only reasonably be read as a request for analysis of the probability that food type X is going to harbor pathogens. For milk kept in the fridge that has spoiled, the probability is pretty low, because the types of bacteria that cause spoiled milk tend to out-compete harmful organisms/produce an acidic environment, just like various fermented foods such as sauerkraut or beer.

And on a side note, I wish people would not feel so compelled to share their anecdotes about that time they got sick from eating something -- anecdotes are almost worthless for a variety of reasons.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:17 AM
Anaglyph Anaglyph is offline
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Originally Posted by constanze View Post
Well, no technically. Joghurt and all based on it is made with bacteria (the same fermentation process that turns white cabbage into Sauerkraut and wet grass into Silage, btw, which is why we call it lactic acid fermentation).

But normal cheese (I don't know what chemical ingredients are used for aberrations like Kraft and similar "cheese-like" substance, I mean real cheese here) is done by adding rennant, an enzyme collected either from calves stomachs, or from genetically altered bacteria (for vegetarians) or from certain plants (rare, for those who are against GM, too).

And of course there's special cheese with mold on it! On purpose, so it's the right kind and not any old mold.
In cheesemaking, the curdling is achieved by rennet rather than by acid produced by bacteria. However, the ripening process that converts the fresh curds to spicy cheese and produces the holes in the cheese involves bacteria. Link
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  #50  
Old 03-29-2010, 11:18 AM
groman groman is offline
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Originally Posted by ivn1188 View Post
These sorts of OPs can only reasonably be read as a request for analysis of the probability that food type X is going to harbor pathogens. For milk kept in the fridge that has spoiled, the probability is pretty low, because the types of bacteria that cause spoiled milk tend to out-compete harmful organisms/produce an acidic environment, just like various fermented foods such as sauerkraut or beer.
And for most garden variety food-borne illness, it's not even a question about any particular container harboring anything in particular. Even if you had the power to get a full bacterial count telepathically over the internet you still would have no idea how it would affect that person. Not saying that anybody is immune to botulism, but I've definitely eaten things that have made others sick with no ill effects, and I've definitely gotten sick from things others eaten without as much as a cramp afterwards.
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