Pasteurized Vs Ultra-Pasteurized Milk: Why Does Some Milk Last Longer?
If you’ve ever bought Maola milk before, then you might have noticed that some of our milk products have a longer shelf life than others. While the “best by date” on some of our milk lasts the standard 7-10 days, there are others that may last several weeks without opening. Why is that?
The “best by date” of your milk is largely dependent on the method of milk pasteurization. What does pasteurization do, and how does it affect milk shelf life? Let’s discuss.
What’s The Point of Pasteurization?
Pasteurization is the process of quickly heating and cooling perishable beverages, like juice, beer, and, of course, milk, to kill off microorganisms that make people sick, like E. coli and salmonella. It was invented by and named after the French chemist Louis Pasteur in the 1800s after studying wine contamination caused by microbes.
Today, according to US law, all milk must be pasteurized before it can be sold in stores or cross state lines. Raw milk is not illegal per-say, but it does pose some serious risks to you and your family as it can carry dangerous germs like Brucella, Listeria, E. coli, and Salmonella. Pasteurization takes away that risk without affecting nutritional value. In some cases, pasteurized milk even tastes better!
Maola uses two main milk pasteurizing processes to keep our milk delicious and safe to drink — High-Temperature Short-Time (HTST) pasteurization and Ultra–Pasteurization (UP). These processes prolong milk shelf life, ensure consistent flavor and quality, and, most importantly, keep our customers safe from harmful diseases.
How Does Pasteurization Affect Milk Shelf Life?
Unpasteurized milk typically lasts about a week. HTST milk, on the other hand, lasts 7 – 10 days and can even last up to 3 weeks. Ultra-Pasteurized milk can last even longer, from several weeks to 150 days, without impacting nutritional value!
Pasteurization improves milk shelf life because it eliminates the pathogenic bacteria that cause it to spoil. Of course, pasteurized milk will still contain some gut-friendly bacteria that eventually cause the milk to spoil; however, pasteurization slows it down. Ultra-Pasteurized milk extends the shelf life even longer as it eliminates both pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria.
Some people believe that organic milk naturally lasts longer or that preservatives have been added to extend the shelf life. Neither is true. Pasteurization and proper storage are all that is needed to keep your milk products safe, and you can rest assured that Maola does not add any preservatives to our milk.
What Is Ultra-Pasteurized Milk?
Typical HTST pasteurization occurs when milk has been heated to a minimum of either 161°F for at least 15 seconds or 145°F for 30 minutes. On the other hand, Ultra-Pasteurization occurs when milk is heated to a minimum of 280°F for at least 2 seconds under near-sterile conditions. It is then rapidly cooled back down to 39°F to maintain freshness. This temperature and time combination is much more lethal to dangerous bacteria, resulting in a longer shelf life and safer food product.
How to Identify Pasteurized Vs. Ultra-Pasteurized Milk
When shopping for Maola products, how can you determine the pasteurization your milk has gone through? We clearly label this information on each product. So, check your milk cartons for either the ‘Pasteurized’ or ‘Ultra-Pasteurized’ labels to determine how your products are pasteurized.
Our Maola Milk half gallons in a gable-top carton, single serves, and some of our quarts are Ultra-Pasteurized. The “best buy date” is another clue as to whether the milk has undergone HTST pasteurization or Ultra-Pasteurization. Products that have a longer shelf-life compared to other products are most likely Ultra-Pasteurized. If you see a longer date on these Maola products, it’s not a misprint, it’s just pasteurized differently.
The Best Way To Make Your Milk Last Longer
As we discussed, pasteurization is key to extending the shelf life of milk and keeping it safe to drink. Whether you prefer High-Temperature Short-Time pasteurized milk, or Ultra-Pasteurized milk, the best way to make your milk last longer is to store it at the proper temperature after purchase. We recommend keeping your milk and dairy products at 34 – 38°F in the fridge. If you accidentally leave your milk out, it’s usually best to throw it out as you can no longer guarantee its freshness without proper storage.
Now that you’re properly educated, are you ready to try out fresh and delicious Maola milk? Check out where you can find our products at a store near you.