Wait, is that Milk Gone Off?
Published on Mon, 08/12/2019 - 3:30pm
Wait, is that Milk Gone Off?
By Michael Cox
The smell of fresh coffee fills the kitchen as you try and bring yourself out of a sleepy daze and face the day. You pour some milk into your mug of brew, and that’s when you notice it; a few specs of clots floating around in the coffee. Is that milk gone off? What a start to the day; sour milk in your coffee. Thankfully, the days of short shelf-life fresh milk may soon be a thing of the past due to a potentially industry-altering technology currently being developed in Australia. Naturo, a food technology company based out of Queensland, Australia believes it has developed a new processing method which will have far superior results than current industry-accepted standards.
In 1864, pasteurization of milk was a massive breakthrough in improving the lifespan and quality of fresh milk. It increased the timeline of how long milk would stay ‘fresh’ for and also reduced the food safety risks associated with raw milk by killing off any harmful bacteria that may have found its way into the milk. Not much has changed since the early days of pasteurization though, until now, when Jeff Hastings, an agricultural engineer with over 30 years in the agri-foods industry, developed a ‘world-first processing technology’ which claims to keep milk fresh and safe for over 60 days. The technology aims to maintain freshness in the fluid milk form. Prior to this invention, extending milk shelf-life required more intensive processes such as Ultra-High-Temperature (UHT) pasteurization or drying milk into powder form.
The new patented process that is being hailed as ‘an alternative treatment to pasteurization of raw milk’. Exact details of how the process works has not been released to the public yet, but Hastings claims the main difference between the new technology and traditional pasteurization is that it doesn’t require “cooking” the milk at high temperatures. High Temperature, Short Time Pasteurization typically heats milk to 72 Degrees Celsius for 15 seconds to kill bacteria in the milk. However, this high temperature can have a damaging effect on some of the nutrients in milk. Hasting’s new process has been independently verified to not only kill Bacillius cereus, the spore forming bacterium in milk, but it also retains more nutrients such as Vitamin B2 and B12. Naturo can claim that milk from it’s novel process will meet food safety standards and also contain more nutrients, simply because the new technology does not degrade nutrients to the same extent as traditional pasteurization.
While higher quality milk is always a positive aspiration for all milk processors, the extended shelf life that Naturo milk offers has the potential to revolutionize global milk distribution if it is widely adopted. Having a window of over two months before milk goes stale will allow milk marketers to use shipping rather than air transport to distribute fresh milk to foreign markets. Ground and sea transportation are significantly less expensive in comparison to air freight, and Naturo claims their technology could allow fluid milk to be priced competitively by being able to stay fresh on these slower routes to market. Competitive pricing and high-quality milk may increase consumption in emerging markets. Asian and African markets which have relied heavily upon UHT milk or powdered products may now be able to receive whole fresh milk on a much larger scale than ever before. Further product development which requires unpasteurized milk, such as cheese making, is also possibly from Naturo processed milk.
The Naturo patented technology has been officially approved by the Australian food safety authority as ‘an alternative treatment to pasteurization of raw milk’. Independent scientific testing is also highlighting exciting results, with the latest Naturo milk staying fresh for an additional seventy-seven days in comparison to standard fresh milk.