Ultra-Pasteurization of Dairy Products

Ultra-Pasteurization of Dairy Products

by Michelle on February 25, 2011

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Although I drink my whole milk raw from a local farm that I trust, I sometimes find myself purchasing extra cream and other pasteurized (heated) dairy products at the store. I accept that these items are only available to be purchased pasteurized at this time, even at health stores, but I’ve recently learned about ultra-pasteurization of some dairy products that just seems so unnatural.

Natural News posted an interesting interview with Sally Fallon (co-author of the wonderful Nourishing Traditions cookbook) that touches on the pasteurization subject. She states that there are a couple of different ways to pasteurize which include the “holder technique” and “flash pasteurization”. With the holder technique, milk is heated slower and held at the desired temperature for 15-3o minutes. Flash pasteurization, however, is when the milk is heated quickly and the temperature is held for only a few seconds.

I’m not a huge fan of pasteurization as it is, and ultra-pasteurization, in my opinion, is at a totally different level. In this process, chilled milk is heated higher than the boiling point in less than two seconds. Sally Fallon states that you cannot do this in your kitchen because you will reach the boiling point of milk and and not be able to go higher than 212 degrees. However, with ultra-pasteurization, equipment is capable of getting the milk to reach temperatures up to 230 degrees. The reason this is done commercially is to extend the shelf life and try to rid the milk of bacteria that has become heat resistant.

But, remember, clean, fresh milk from pastured cows that are treated well and given good living conditions (of course, also free of hormones and antibiotics) contains enzymes and vitamins in the milk which make it a “live” product and good for us in many ways. In the past raw milk has even been used for medicinal purposes. Sally Fallon goes on to make another good point about ultra-pasteurization- if we are going to kill everything good in the milk, why bother to grass feed and raise cows organically to begin with?

If you would like to avoid ultra-pasteurized products, I recommend looking for this description on the ingredients list and general packaging of the item you are looking to purchase. Local, organic dairy products may also be a better option as some may use slower heating techniques and possibly not homogenize the milk as well. Kelly the Kitchen Cop also offers some milk recommendations and good brands to look for if you are buying from the store.


Photo By: Chris69

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah May 18, 2011 at 12:33 am

So does buying milk that is heated “slower” a lesser evil? I don’t live in a country where I can buy raw or organic milk (that I am aware of – I don’t speak the language!) but I was told a certain brand is heated “slowly.” Would that be my best choice when purchasing milk? We aren’t big milk drinkers but I do make home made yogurt and kefir that I need it for. Thanks for the help!

Michelle May 18, 2011 at 11:55 am

Sarah, I always prefer a more natural method of food preparation so while I can’t scientifically say that regular pasteurized milk is a lesser evil than ultra-pasteurized, I personally would prefer milk heated slower with something like the holder technique mentioned above.

In general, I try not to buy anything that was prepared in a way that is so unnaturally processed that I couldn’t do in my own kitchen (another example would be hydrogenated oils). I’m sorry I don’t have a better response to offer, but I hope this helps!

P.S. I stopped by and really like your blog! :)

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