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​How Milk Pasteurization Works



  May 28, 2024

​How Milk Pasteurization Works



What is pasteurization?

Pasteurization is a process that uses heat to kill harmful bacteria and other pathogens in food and beverages, including milk. This process helps to ensure the safety and extend the shelf life of the product.

How does milk pasteurization work?

There are several methods for pasteurizing milk, but the most common ones are:

High-Temperature Short-Time (HTST): Milk is heated to 161°F (71.7°C) for at least 15 seconds, then rapidly cooled. This is the standard method for most milk in the U.S.

Ultra-High-Temperature (UHT): Milk is heated to 280°F (137.8°C) for 2 seconds, then rapidly cooled. This process kills more bacteria than HTST and results in a longer shelf life, but it can slightly alter the taste and texture of the milk.

Vat Pasteurization: Milk is heated to 145°F (62.8°C) for 30 minutes. This is an older method, less commonly used in large-scale commercial production.

Does pasteurization kill all bacteria in milk?

Pasteurization does not kill all bacteria in milk, but it eliminates the harmful pathogens that can cause foodborne illnesses,such as salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. Some beneficial bacteria may survive pasteurization.

Does pasteurization affect the nutritional value of milk?

Pasteurization has a minimal effect on the nutritional value of milk. It may slightly reduce some heat-sensitive vitamins like vitamin C, but the overall nutritional content remains largely intact.

Is raw milk safer than pasteurized milk?

No, raw milk is not safer than pasteurized milk. Raw milk can contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness,especially in vulnerable populations like children, pregnant women, and the elderly.

Why is milk pasteurized?

Milk pasteurization is a crucial public health measure that significantly reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses. Before pasteurization was widespread, milk was a common source of diseases like tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and diphtheria.

Can I drink raw milk?

While drinking raw milk is legal in some states in the U.S., it is not recommended due to the potential health risks. If you choose to consume raw milk, be sure to obtain it from a reputable source and understand the potential risks involved.


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