Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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bad milk indicator

Never consume rancid milk again.
  (+16, -1)(+16, -1)
(+16, -1)
  [vote for,

Reading expiration dates just doesn't cut it for me. I have rancid milk mishaps far too often.

I propose that someone with a lot of smarts follow the pioneering effort put forth by tooth brush companies and their blue indicator bristles.

When my milk turns bad, I want the carton to tell me. It can turn blue, or maybe even red, or some alarming color that says "Hey man, don't drink me, I'm now vile poison."

Perhaps an additive could be placed in the milk that would turn the milk into cat litter the very split second it went from optimal freshness to vile poison rancid milk.

This would satisfy my disgust and disappointment for the very action of "going rancid" by letting my cat poop on it.

Perhaps a cap could be designed that would lock down when the milk went bad, prohibiting me in my morning stupor from pouring lumpy white poison on my Frosted Flakes.

Or maybe build a Cheese Factory (not to be mistaken with CheeseCAKE Factory) into the carton that would, with the power of bio-agricultural-technology, turn my rancid milk into Blue Cheese Salad Dressing.

Ultimately, as technology advances and nano technology is as common place as miniature spy cameras, I'd like to see my rancid milk break down into it's most basic components, then reassemble as turf for my lawn.

michaelbuffington, Jun 25 2002

natrel fine-filtered milk http://www.natrel.c...el_fine_filter.html
4 week fridge life, buy this milk and you won't need a bad milk indicator. [mihali, Jun 26 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

When good milk goes bad http://www.everythi...x.pl?node_id=101676
*plugs own write-up* [pottedstu, Jun 26 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Smelling aid http://www.halfbake...idea/Smelling_20aid
Maybe you need one fo these ? [8th of 7, Jun 26 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

(?) Art Fry Speaks Out http://mustang.cole...venting/Postit.html
Art Fry talks about his feelings on the Post It Note. [michaelbuffington, Jun 26 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Arla may develop intelligent milk cartons http://foodproducti...2&c=vxfdjtsacrtjtvg
A Swedish dairy company is considering developing a milk carton that monitors internal temperature and indicates if the contents are yet drinkable. [bristolz, Oct 04 2004]

(?) Nate's idea-a-day (2003) http://www.worldofn...ideas/20030404.html
[jutta, Oct 18 2006]


       Ever tryed smelling the milk, unless of course your olfactory senses have been disabled.
kaz, Jun 25 2002

       Smelling the milk doesn't always work. Sometimes it simply smells like milk. I'm sure the more rancid it gets, the more rancid it smells. Additionally, I don't trust my own sense of smell. Rather than wage the internal battle of "Is that the smell of rancid milk or fresh milk?" I'd rather that Science and Marketing(TM) tell me.
michaelbuffington, Jun 25 2002

       I just look for that nice little ring it develops. Don't let the distributors tell you; they're simply out for your pocketbook.   

       I'm curious whether or not there's an agricultural conspiracy to not purifying milk any longer than the bare minimums in order to keep the price up.
RayfordSteele, Jun 25 2002

       I think it's a great idea. It's like a battery life indicator. We lived just fine without them, but when they came, it was great. Same with toothbrushes, and some new razors. Indicators are great. It's like doing a usability overhaul, but on milk.   

       I'd bet it wouldn't be too hard either, I'm sure that because milk going rancid is a chemical reaction of sorts, this chemical reaction could trigger a likewise chemical reaction in an indicator fixed to the inside of the milk container lid. This reaction could motivate the colors within a window in the cap to change. Green would mean "Fresh", Yellow would mean "Better Hurry" and Red would mean "Stop!"   

       Although, I'd bet that the reaction that drives the indicator would need contact with the milk. The air in the container would refresh as the cap was opened. Nothing some thought and planning couldn't figure out.   

       Worth my vote.
creamfowl, Jun 26 2002

       There seem to be a great many first-time annotators here lately who create an account to annotate something the first day its posted and then disappear without a trace. Makes me terribly suspicious.
RayfordSteele, Jun 26 2002

       Good point [RayfordSteele]. In response to the 'is that fresh milk smell, or is it rancid milk smell?' point raised. Why not try smelling a fresh carton of milk and then smell the supposedly rancid milk and compare?
kaz, Jun 26 2002

       I mostly use UHT milk, but this is a nice idea anyway.
8th of 7, Jun 26 2002

       I saw one of these on 'Tomorrows World' (UK mainstream science programme that is slowly tuning into an audiovisual innovations catalogue) about ten years ago.   

       The indicator was a small panel on the side of the milk carton that was set to 'chemically expire' (and in doing so change colour) at a similar rate to milk - store the milk at too high a temperature and the indicator will expire the milk carton sooner than if you stored it properly.   

       Judging by the fact that nobody has seen a product with this on andI can't find anything on google I guess it never made it to market. Good idea, though.
st3f, Jun 26 2002

       I agree. Definitely a good idea and a vast improvement on my own method of pouring it into a cup of coffee and then seeing if it goes lumpy.
DrBob, Jun 26 2002

       Get a cat. If the cat's prepared to drink the milk, it's almost certainly wholesome. You'd get a few false positives, as cats tend towards the picky.
angel, Jun 26 2002

       try pouring it into the cat and wait to see if it is regurgitated. sorry, is it lunchtime? (beat me to it - ggrr)
po, Jun 26 2002

       Per Kaz - your nose is *much* more sentitive than your mouth. Milk smells rancid long before it tastes bad, especially if you are putting it in coffee. Or is your nose duff?
DrCurry, Jun 26 2002

       All bovine milk is 'bad', from a health aspect. At least according to most epidemiological studies I've seen.
pfperry, Jun 26 2002

       It doesn't seem to have harmed me, or my mother, who drinks enormous quantities of it.
angel, Jun 26 2002

       This is way off topic, but to avoid "disappearing without a trace" as Rayford mentioned, I should defend halfbakery new users. Yesterday I did create an account, and yesterday I did annotate this idea, but yesterday is also the first I had heard of halfbakery, and it was through Mr. Buffington's site, which linked directly to this idea. Simple explanation to put your suspicions at ease.
creamfowl, Jun 26 2002

       3M had a product in the works like this (similar to st3f's post), but it was pretty durn expensive (would have added about 10 cents (US) to each carton). The "going bad" in milk is the production of mega-bacteria, that survive pasteurisation/filtering - takes a while after that for them to recover, so you get a few weeks of low-bacteria milk. Obviously, the warmer you keep the milk, the better off the bacteria are. There is a company in Tronno (Toronto, for non-Canadians) that makes a plastic-wrap for meat that changes colour as more bacteria grow in the meat. It's measured by the amount of acid created as the bacteria digest the sugars (ie lactose).
Matty, Jun 26 2002

       Welll due to all the points raised I am now prepared to put my plus vote to this idea. Even though it has been hinted at that the product is at least bakeable I do think that it would be helpful at least.
kaz, Jun 26 2002

       Heck, I'd pay an extra ten cents to help avoid the taste of liquid dirt in my mouth. That's right, liquid dirt. I see that puzzled look. Maybe it's just me, but nonfat rancid milk to me tastes like a mouthful of garden soil.   

       Paying the extra ten cents would help me save money in the long term. Rather than hiding the half full cartons in my neighbors bushes, I could use the milk sooner, as indicated by the indicator. That would save me some dough.   

       As far as the "Don't buy milk" people and thier comments go, I suggest you go climb a tree. "Not buying milk" is not a solution to my problem. Not pouring milk on my Fruit Loops is not a solution.   

       So now that we all agree there's some validity in this idea, how do I become as famous as whoever the guy was that invented PostIt Notes? I could use the money to fund the construction of a vertical wind tunnel for simulated sky diving in my backyard.
michaelbuffington, Jun 26 2002

       you can't tell by looking, UB. I would have liked to have invented tipex, personally.
po, Jun 26 2002

       [po n bubba]: zips: almost all the zips in the world are made by one company (YYK)
yamahito, Jun 26 2002

       //Don't mind me, just laughing on the inside.//   

       [UnaBubba]: You just inspired my marketing slogan. "The Rancid Milk Indicator: Is your milk rancid inside?"   

       Most of my descriptions and what are tongue in cheek, which I guess you've figured out, but I'm dead serious about this idea.   

       Hell hath no fury like a rancid carton of milk.   

       Everyone knows Art Fry invented the Post It. Link to arrive shortly.
michaelbuffington, Jun 26 2002

       [po], you could have invented Tippex if you were Mike Nesmith's mother.
angel, Jun 27 2002

       I knew that but I am not.
po, Jun 27 2002

       On the arrival of the sell-by date, the milk container explodes, thus preventing the possibility of accidental ingestion.
waugsqueke, Jun 27 2002

       Check out michael's homepage - nicest blog I've seen in some time
thumbwax, Aug 24 2002

       Hm... I wonder if it's possible to test milk electrochemically? They have those little electrolytic PH meters that are used to detect soil PH, I wonder if a similar device could be used to test milk?
Corona688, Dec 18 2002

       The indicator can be a timer/thermometer. When the indicator reads a certain lack of coolness for a certain amount of time the carton or jug could lock or explode or something.
ImBack, Dec 18 2002

       Isn't that what husbands are for?
thinkinggirl, Sep 05 2003

       Buy a half gallon.
Chefboyrbored, Oct 18 2006

       Maybe a milk test kit would be a good thing to have. You keep it in your cupboard and when in doubt, pour a little into the container- add a couple of the supplied chemicals and shake it. I would prefer that type of color change opposed to the chemical already being in the milk or the carton.
Jscotty, Oct 18 2006

       Milk doesn't have much of a smell in the first place. If you can smell it, it's bad.   

       On the other hand, my mom found that if you leave the top off a gallon of milk in the fridge, it will last long past its sell-by date. You don't want to take the cap off too soon however, or the milk will begin to smell like the stronger contents of the fridge. But, when it gets the little crusties around the spout, and there's less than half left, leave the cap off.
mmrtnt, Oct 18 2006


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