Got milk? Now Keep It Fresher Longer!

Anyone who eats cereal knows that pasteurization is cooking milk at a high temperature to kill microorganisms, but while that heat kills bacteria, it also kills flavor. So it’s a good thing new research has finally solved this problem; meaning the best milkshake you’ve ever had is just around the corner.

You know the TV spots; you’ve seen the star-studded magazine ads for years now. But once you got milk, do you how long it will stay fresh in your fridge? At Oregon State University’s food science lab, they can cook-up a mix that lasts more than a month and still tastes fresh.

“Good taste, good aroma, that is the kind of research we are doing here,” Michael Qian, Ph.D, a food scientist at Oregon State University told Ivanhoe.

Ultra-pasteurized milk is cooked at 280 degrees Fahrenheit. While that kills bacteria, it also breaks down the proteins that make milk taste good. So doctor Michael Qian found a way to kill the microorganisms while keeping milk from tasting cooked.

“We lower the cooking temperature so we generate less cooked flavor,” Dr. Qian said.

Turns out low heat, plus pressure does the trick. This massive machine is a hydrostatic pressure processor; it subjects milk to 85-thousand pounds of pressure per square inch for five minutes, literally crushing bacteria to death.

“If you think that high pressure at the bottom of the sea is high, think 10 times that pressure that’s the pressure we work at,” J. Antonio Torres, Ph.D, a food scientist said.

“The pressure is just so high, we squeeze it so the microbials will die,” Dr. Qian said.

Low heat saves milk’s flavor by protecting the proteins. Add in pressure processing, and it stays fresh in your fridge for 45 days. So now you got milk and you got it for longer.

Milk processed under pressure could be available to consumers in three to five years if it becomes cost-effective. The technique is already being used in other industries as a method of microbial control.


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