Q. I would like to hear more about ultra-pasteurization of milk. I have noticed that organic milk does not spoil as fast as non-organic milk. Is it the ultra-pasteurization? And why is organic milk ultra-pasteurized while regular milk is not?
A. Ultra-pasteurization, which heats milk to 260 degrees F. as opposed to the 160 degrees F. required for regular pasteurization, triples the shelf life of milk. Most big-brand organic milk is now ultra-pasteurized, so that’s probably why you’ve noticed that it doesn’t spoil as quickly as normal milk.
As to why the ultra-pasteurization process has been widely adopted by the organic market and not the conventional milk market, I can only speculate. Perhaps it’s because organic milk is more expensive and people want to see that longer shelf life? More likely, it’s because conventionally produced regular milk is more likely to come from local or regional dairies whereas most of the organic milk you see in supermarkets comes from a small handful of large suppliers. Because it’s shipped all over the country, it needs a longer shelf life.
Personally, I think that ultra-pasteurization gives the milk a flat, stale taste. Where I live, we have a small organic dairy that does not ultra-pasteurize their product. It’s only good for about a week and a half but, personally, I’d just as soon drink my milk fresh rather than have it sitting in my fridge for 6 weeks! Plus it comes in those cute glass bottles!
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