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Processing - details

Last Updated: August 1, 2012

At this point, the actual processing begins. The milk is separated, meaning the butterfat is removed and an appropriate amount of butterfat is added back to achieve the desired fluid product-skim, 1%, 2% (also called partially skimmed) or 3.25% (commonly called homogenized milk).

Milk and cream are pasteurized. This is the most important step in the processing because most of the bacteria are destroyed by heating milk to 72°C for 16 seconds, and then rapidly cooling the milk. This ensures milk is safe to drink and unopened packages will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about two weeks. Once opened, milk should be used in three days.

A homogenizer breaks up the remaining fat particles and distributes them evenly throughout the milk. This keeps the cream from floating to the top of the milk. Almost all milk is homogenized, not just the commonly known 'homogenized' variety. Vitamin D is added to milk. Partly skimmed and skim milk are also fortified with Vitamin A. Homogenized or whole milk is not fortified with Vitamin A because it contains enough naturally. No preservatives are added to milk.

More about Pasteurization



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