At my place of employment, they supply coffee. Along with cups, lids, and sweeteners they provide the little plastic containers of half and half. The box these come in states, "No Refrigeration Necessary." The date on the box is usually a few months into the future.

Occasionally, I will find what appears to be curdles in the half and half. Has it really curdled or is it more of a settling or congealing in the half and half?

These "curdles" are small, white, and float in the coffee. The larger "curdles" do not dissolve when stirred. I think I have noticed an odd/off taste but I don't use half and half consistently so I'm not sure if it's due to the "curdles".

So, how stable is this type half and half?
Will it get REALLY chunky if left long enough?

  • Are we talking about single-serving-containers or small boxes?
    – Stephie
    Jan 10 '20 at 16:54
  • Single-serving-containers. the containers they hold approximately 9 ml.
    – B540Glenn
    Jan 10 '20 at 17:02
  • I've (personally) never warmed up to those little containers! For concepts of food safety, storage, and preservation, consider searching or asking on Seasoned Advice; some example questions about UHT and ESL treated shelf-stable milk include this and this. Though generally not encouraged to dual-post questions there might be space for a similar question about creamer containers. Credit to @Stephie for suggestion.
    – hoc_age
    Jun 5 '20 at 5:05

If the curdles swim on top and are without much structure it is likely milk fat. If they are fluffy it could be proteins.

Breakdown due to germs is unlikely as a shelf life of several months wouldn't be possible with fresh milk. Manufacturing errors excluded.

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