Demands for longer shelf life and wider distribution of chilled milk products have resulted in the concept of extended shelf life or ESL milk. ESL milk has begun to play an important role in the dynamics of dairy markets along with the rapid development of new processing and packaging concepts.
The role of UV processing in extending the shelf life of milk.
While thermal processes such as pasteurization, UHT, and sterilization have a long history of use and are well defined by regulators, there is no similar definition of ESL milk products, and the methods that can be used in ESL milk processing operations. This article focuses on various treatments for chilled distribution and the way in which new nonthermal UV (ultraviolet) treatment can improve the microbiological quality of both raw and pasteurized milk. Ultraviolet or UV photosterilization via turbulent UV technology is one
of the promising novel nonthermal adjunct processes that could provide milk
processors with a safe, energy-efficient, and cost-effective process to gain an
added measure of quality and extended shelf life as compared to pasteurization. Studies from commercially available turbulent UV photosterilization systems such as SurePurehave found that UV processing of raw
milk can reliably achieve a 3–4 log 10 reduction of initial microbial load
measured as standard plate, psychrotrophic, coliform, and thermoduric counts,
and extend shelf life up to 14 days.
Shelf Life Enhancement Of Milk Products was co-authored by Tatiana Koutchma, Ph.D., Research Scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guelph, Ontario, Canada and Gail Barnes, Ph.D., a member of IFT and a Partner at Personify LLC.