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The Science Behind Pasteurization

Introduction to pasteurization

Ever wondered why consuming raw milk directly from the farms is not encouraged? Ever wondered why children, pregnant women, and immuno compromised people are refrained from consuming raw milk?

We all know that milk contains various nutritional qualities, due to which it is labeled as a complete food. But raw milk is also a profuse home to several minute organisms, which are imperceptible to your naked eye. Amongst these microbes, some are prone to cause diseases and infections if consumed. Hence when you consume such raw, untreated milk, your body is exposed to those disease-causing little organisms. This is where pasteurization comes into place.

Pasteurization is a heat treatment process that primarily aims at destroying the pathogens present in food, thus minimizing the probable health hazards that they can lead to. In short, it refers to heating the food product to kill most of the pathogenic microorganisms, followed by rapid cooling before being shipped.

Why is pasteurization important?

Raw milk can harbor dangerous microbes which in turn pose serious life threats to humans. Pasteurization involves heating milk at 63 °C for 30 min and 72 °C for one or two seconds, before cooling it. It focuses mainly on the 'log reduction' of the number of microorganisms. This in turn brings down the number to such an extent that the microbes are unlikely to cause any kind of infection.

Pasteurization aims at increasing the safety of consumers and also increasing the keeping quality of milk products. Such heat-treated milk samples can sit without refrigeration for months. It can be done as a batch or a continuous process. Pasteurization also inactivates the enzymes responsible for early food deterioration, thus allowing perishable foods to have an extended shelf life.

Common myths

  • A common myth circulating is that pasteurization reduces milk's nutritional value. But science and research have come to the conclusion that the important nutrients in milk are left unaffected by heat and pasteurization does not alter the nutritional qualities of milk. In fact, pasteurized milk nowadays is fortified with essential vitamins like vitamin D, making it undoubtedly a nutritionally beneficent food.

  • Another common myth is that the pasteurization of milk causes allergies. But the proven facts say that pasteurization does not introduce new allergies. If you are lactose intolerant, you will be intolerant to it no matter the milk consumed is raw or heat treated.

  • Also, raw milk is considered healthier than pasteurized milk, which is not true. Pasteurization does not significantly alter the nutritional component of milk. The effects of heat on milk are considered marginal. Hence heat treatment does not make milk unhealthy.


Raw milk does contain pathogens. As most of the microbes present in milk are prone to cause various infections and make you sick, it is imperative to keep them away from reaching your gut. Hence it is necessary to subject the milk sample to a mild heat treatment before consumption. In short, pasteurization is the process of heating milk to a stipulated length of time at high temperatures to make milk microbiologically safe for consumption. This in turn also leads to an increase in shelf life and provides better quality to the milk-derived products.

People today have understood the cons of consuming raw milk and have inclined towards heat-treated ones, thereby opening a whole new era of research in the dairy sector. Milky Mist offers a wide range of milk variants from accurately and well-pasteurized milk in the form of cheese, yogurt, butter, cream, paneer, shrikhand, Mishti Doi, curd, buttermilk, khova, lassi, fruit flavoured yogurts, etc. Milky Mist also offers UHT (Ultra High Temperature) milk in skimmed, toned, and double toned variants. UHT processing is where milk is heated to 135°C–150°C for a few seconds to achieve a commercially sterile and a shelf-stable product. These products apart from giving a burst of flavor to our taste buds, also have set the bars of quality and safety high.

Long before refrigerators were in use, people were used to consuming fresh food every day due to minimalistic storage options. Now with the betterment of technology, perishable food products like milk are eligible to be stored with an extended shelf life.

Say thanks to pasteurization and do your health a favor!

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