Milk Pasteurization and Its Importance for Healthy Consumer Nutrition

milk pasteurization-dairy machinery

Milk Pasteurization and Its Importance for Healthy Consumer Nutrition

Pasteurization has been an important technological application for decades to neutralize the infectious agents present in fresh milk upon receipt by dairy animals. Dairy machinery used in the pasteurization process must follow certain rules and specifications in order to be safe. Although this practice is now established and legally mandatory for consumer safety, various misleading opinions of consumer organizations on pasteurization create doubts and confusion in public opinion.

Pasteurization does not destroy or reduce the nutritional value of fresh milk or alter ingredients and vitamins.

In recent years, different types of milk with different fat content are available on the market. The removal of fat from fresh is achieved only by mechanical techniques without the intervention of chemicals. Milk with lower content of animal fat is equally healthy for older people and more useful due to the relationship between fat and obesity and prevention of reduced energy intake. Skim milk has a protective effect on heart health, as part of an overall healthy eating plan.

The Importance of Milk in Human Health and its Nutritional Value

Raw milk is an important factor in the diet and can provide many essential nutrients for the proper development of the human body, bones and teeth. Raw milk is a valuable source of calcium (Ca), protein, vitamins, enzymes and trace elements. A glass of milk (approximately 200 ml) provides one third of the recommended daily allowance of calcium for the average person. Milk is also nutritionally important due to its protein content, the energy of tulips it contains (mainly saturated fats), Vitamin B1, B2 and B12, Phosphorus (P) and Iodine (I).

In addition, milk consumption provides the human diet Niacin (known as vitamin B3, nicotinic acid or vitamin PP), 2Folic acid, Vitamins A, D and C, Potassium (K), Magnesium (Mg) and Zinc.

How is milk produced in Greece?

Milk production in Greece takes place in high-tech facilities and with the exclusion of infectious agents. The products are standardized with European specifications. Milk can only pick up germs from the atmosphere when opened for consumption. In 2013, a total of 627,481 tons of milk were produced in Greece. The annual consumption of beef in various forms (i.e yogurts, cheeses, desserts, etc.) is about 1.2 million tons. Of these, more than 500 thousand tons are fresh – that is, produced in Greece. Finally, Greek production is 627 thousand tons of milk and we consume 1.2 million tons (fresh and dairy). About 600,000 tons of products are made with milk from abroad.

Milk fat is a concentrated source of energy, which is why removing fat from milk reduces its calories. Semi-skimmed milk gives about 2/3 of the calories compared to whole milk, while skimmed milk gives only half the calories of normal. However, most health authorities recommend that children under the age of two do not consume low-fat milk, as they need a concentrated source of energy (fat) for their rapid growth, and in particular for the proper development of the nervous system. Skimmed milk should not be included in the diet until the age of five.

5 main types of Milk

1. Natural whole milk-raw or processed

Milk to which nothing has been added or removed with 3.5-5% fat depending on the breed of cow (sheep or goat).

2. Standard or regular whole milk

Milk standardized in 3.5 to 4% fat.

3. Semi-skimmed milk

Half the amount of fat has been removed. Contains 1.5-1.8% fat.

4. Skimmed (low fat) milk

Almost all the fat has been removed. Contains less than 0.5% fat.

5. Low lactose milk or lactose free milk

Milk sugar (lactose) has been partially or completely removed intended for people with lactose intolerance.

Pasteurization offers security to the consumer

Milk due to its physical condition and its components is very easy to be infected by pathogenic microorganisms. The pasteurization method was discovered by Louis Pasteur in 1857. Pasteurization does not kill all microorganisms but the most infectiously harmful. Pasteurization drastically reduces the number of microorganisms as dangerous. Salmonella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, brucella (honey fever) and even the Mycobacterium tuberculosis, to such an extent that they no longer pose a risk to human health. From the infections and deaths that milk has caused in the past, scientists believe that pasteurization has saved the lives of millions of people.

The pasteurization process reduces the total amount of bacteria by 97% -99%, it is effective, because the common pathogens that grow in milk (Koch bacillus, salmonella, streptococcus and brucellosis) do not form spores and are enough sensitive to heat. However, pasteurization should not be considered a substitute for hygiene methods in milk production.

Pasteurization of milk was Pasteur’s greatest discovery, saving millions of lives. In pasteurized pathogenic bacteria are destroyed by heating at 62 ° C for 30 minutes or by “instant” heating at higher temperatures for less than one minute.

The milk can also be treated with lightly extensive pasteurization (ESL, ExtendedShelfLife, 40-90 days) or processed at ultra-high temperature to make it long lasting (UHT, Ultra HighTemperature). There is also microfiltration treatment (microfiltration, bactofugation) and high temperature for a short time (neutralizes all pathogenic bacteria) so the milk can be kept out of the refrigerator for a long time but must be consumed when opened. to prolong the life of the product by reducing the number of pathogenic microorganisms that cause lesions.

Pasteurization has very little effect on the taste and nutritional quality of milk and helps to increase its shelf life. Long-life milk -ESL lasts for about 3 weeks and tastes like fresh milk. UHT milk is stored out of the refrigerator for several months if packaged in airtight containers, but when opened it has the same shelf life as fresh milk.

As in pasteurization, the effect of processing on the nutritional quality of milk is small, but UHT milk has a characteristic caustic taste. The most intense heat treatment of milk sterilization destroys about half the amount of vitamins C and B1. Filtering milk through membranes with very small pores, a process called microfiltration, can remove about> 99% of bacteria. The bacteria retained by the membrane are then heat treated separately and added back to the filtered milk. This minimizes the loss of nutrients and flavor changes caused by heat.

Milk is important for human nutrition and especially for children because it contains important nutrients and vitamins.

Changes in Milk Ingredients with the Various Pasteurization and Sterilization Treatments

Raw milk, which has not been pasteurized, has a short shelf life and its consumption is less safe than the consumption of processed milk, due to the presence of pathogenic microorganisms in it upon receipt by the animal, transport, packaging and processing until it reaches the consumer…

Other Types of Milk Processing

Most milk products sold in stores are homogenized, so there is no layer of fat (cream) on their surface. This is because milk liposomes dissolve mechanically so that they are evenly distributed throughout the milk.

Homogenization does not affect the nutritional value of milk.

Condensed or evaporated milk has twice the concentration of most nutrients and energy compared to fresh milk, after half the water has been removed, but due to sterilization has lost vitamins B1 and C. Milk powder, either whole or skimmed, when returned to liquid form with the addition of water, has similar amounts of protein, fat, calories and minerals as fresh milk, but some of the vitamins are destroyed due to heat treatment. Sometimes vitamins are added to milk powder.

Milk Processing Products

Pasteurized milk

Milk that has been gently heat treated (72-75 ° C for 15-30 seconds) to kill pathogenic microorganisms.

UHT Milk (Ultra High Temperature Milk)

Milk heated to a higher temperature (≥ 135 ° C for at least 1 second) to destroy more microorganisms it contains.

Sterile milk

Milk that is processed for a longer period of time (about 110 ° C for 20-30 minutes) to destroy all the microorganisms it contains.

Long-lasting milk

Micro-filtered and / or heat treated.

Are Low Fat Milks Healthy?

Removing fat from milk has both positive and negative effects. Consumers in European countries have a choice between whole milk (3.5%), partially skimmed milk (1.5%) and whole milk (0.35%). About half of the fat in milk belongs to the category of saturated fatty acids.

The choice of low-fat milk limits the intake of saturated fats (high consumption of animal fats for the elderly can increase obesity, heart attacks, etc.), especially when it comes to people who consume large amounts of milk.

Calcium, proteins and other nutrients in milk are not fat-soluble, so they are retained when milk fat animals are removed. Vitamin A and a small amount of vitamin D, which are found in fat (fat-soluble vitamins), are unfortunately removed during the skimming of milk, resulting in the loss of valuable micronutrients.

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