Horizon shelf-stable and refrigerated milk are both organic. So why isn’t all milk produced using UHT? Most organic milk undergoes a pasteurization process called UHT, for ultrahigh temperature, which involves heating it to more than 280 degrees Fahrenheit for two seconds. Europeans, however, don’t seem to mind. Number of Views 24. Subscribers get more award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. The second line is the expiration date formatted as month, day, year. Most regular or fresh milk, Dr. Moraru said, is heated only to 161 degrees for a minimum of 15 seconds, a process called HTST — for high temperature, short time. Many of the recycled cartons get a second life as paper products and building materials. We use Tetra Pak® cartons that lock in nutrition and great taste and lock out air and light. Retailers typically give pasteurized milk an expiration date of four to six days. What makes shelf-stable different is how it’s pasteurized and packaged. The normal expiration date for organic milk is about a month. Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, hormones to stimulate more milk production. Conventional milk typically has an expiration date for two weeks and sometime less. Q. Milk is heated to a very high temperature for just a few seconds, which destroys bacteria for a longer shelf life. Craig Baumrucker, professor of animal nutrition and physiology at Pennsylvania State University, pours out an answer: If you’ve ever shopped for milk, you’ve no doubt noticed what our questioner has: While regular milk expires within about a week or sooner, organic milk lasts much longer—as long as a month. A. According to Organic Valley, they use two forms of pasteurization for their milk. Milk is pasteurized, which is a process that makes it safe to drink. Both are real milk. What is the best way to store Organic Valley Butter? Compare that to pasteurization, the standard preservation process. © 2020 Scientific American, a Division of Springer Nature America, Inc. Support our award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. (The error occurred during editing by the staff of ScientificAmerican.com and is not the fault of the expert. Actually, it turns out that it has nothing to do with the milk being organic. According to the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, the milk needs to stay fresh longer because organic products often have to travel farther to reach store shelves since it is not produced throughout the country. Number of Views 37. Most organic milk undergoes the hotter pasteurization process because the organic market is smaller, meaning the milk spends more time in the commercial distribution system and thus has to last longer, Dr. Moraru said. This article explains what the date on your milk means and how long milk is safe to drink after the printed date. With higher temperature pasteurization and special packaging, shelf-stable milk can be stored safely without refrigeration. Be sure to follow the recycling instructions on the packaging. The different temperatures hint at why UHT-treated milk lasts longer: Pasteurization doesn’t kill all bacteria in the milk, just enough so that you don't get a disease with your milk mustache. Milk with either treatment lasts about five days after the container is opened. A Horizon milk box delivers 8 grams of protein and a good source of calcium, along with the goodness of real organic milk. All "organic" means is that the farm the milk comes from does not use antibiotics to fight infections in cows or hormones to stimulate more milk production. Our single-serve milk boxes are also shelf-stable, so you can store them in the pantry and take them anywhere—for lunches, for travel, at sports practice or to the park. Organic milk typically has a longer expiration date than conventional milk. The process is used for the room-temperature Parmalat milk found outside the refrigerator case and for most milk sold in Europe. Organic milk lasts longer because producers use a different process to preserve it. There are, of course, lots of reasons people buy organic milk. Special packaging, along with UHT pasteurization, is the key to shelf-stable milk. A. How do I maintain the freshness of Half & Half? So what is it about organic milk that makes it stay fresh so long? The answer relates to the level of heat treatment used for the milk, wrote Carmen I. Moraru, an associate professor in the department of food science at Cornell University. Number of Views 259. As a result, the treated milk has a long shelf life, measured in months, even at room temperature. Never run out of Horizon again—just stock the pantry with shelf-stable. Explore our digital archive back to 1845, including articles by more than 150 Nobel Prize winners. Most people throw out milk after the date on the label has passed. *Correction (6/6/08): This sentence originally said "milk is heated to 145 degrees F (63 degrees C) for at least 30 seconds." The process for shelf-stable milk is called UHT pasteurization, or Ultra High Temperature. One reason is that UHT-treated milk tastes different. Milk is freshest within 5 days of opening. firstname.lastname@example.org. Pasteurization is the process we use to help eliminate bacteria in milk. There are two types of pasteurization: "low temperature, long time," in which milk is heated to 145 degrees F (63 degrees C) for at least 30 minutes*, or the more common "high temperature, short time," in which milk is heated to roughly 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) for at least 15 seconds. Discover world-changing science. The UHT treatment, on the other hand, “is a sterilization process, which means that it kills practically all micro-organisms, both vegetative cells and spores,” Dr. Moraru said in an interview. Milk that undergoes UHT doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can sit on the shelf for up to six months. But if it's the long shelf life you're after, I would recommend you buy nonorganic UHT milk and avoid being charged double. Regular milk can undergo UHT, too. To learn more about your CA privacy rights, please visit CA Privacy Rights. ), 11 hours ago — Chelsea Harvey and E&E News, 15 hours ago — Meghan Bartels and SPACE.com. Q. It is often labeled ultrapasteurized. If unopened, the freshness of Organic Valley milk is guaranteed up to the sell-by date. Ahead of that, however, was up to six days of processing and shipping, so total shelf life after pasteurization is probably up to two weeks. Both are delicious. Retailers typically give pasteurized milk an expiration date of four to six days. Why does organic milk have a longer shelf life, as signified by later expiration dates, than regular milk? This helps eliminate bacteria and keeps out light, air and harmful contaminants. Organic Valley farmers helped write the standards on organic pastures—and every day, we work to exceed those standards. The HTST process is designed to kill the disease-causing micro-organisms that are of concern in milk — for example, the Q fever agent, Coxiella burnetii — so the milk is safe for consumption. The tastiest and most nutritious milk comes from healthy, happy cows that spend their days in green pastures. UHT, on the other hand, kills everything. But some organisms that promote spoilage survive, and the milk will spoil after 14 to 21 days in the refrigerator. UHT sweetens the flavor of milk by burning some of its sugars (caramelization). ... Related Articles. Is my carton of milk good past the sell-by/expiration date? We do not recommend consuming any milk products past the sell-by date. The process that gives the milk a longer shelf life is called ultrahigh temperature (UHT) processing or treatment, in which milk is heated to 280 degrees Fahrenheit (138 degrees Celsius) for two to four seconds, killing any bacteria in it. The first, HTST (Hight Temperature - Short Time), gives the product a 16-21 day shelf life. Why does organic milk have a longer shelf life, as signified by later expiration dates, than regular milk? Our shelf-stable milk gets ultra-pasteurized at higher temperatures (UHT), and then put into Tetra Pak packaging. Find out more about what shelf-stable milk is, and how it differs from refrigerated milk. It’s real milk you can store in the pantry, thanks to airtight, no-light packaging. Always use it by the best-by date and store it in the fridge after opening. A lot of Americans find this offensive—just as they are leery of buying nonrefrigerated milk. UHT also destroys some of the milk’s vitamin content—not a significant amount—and affects some proteins, making it unusable for cheese.
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