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Ultrapasteurized Milk: Why It Doesn’t Spoil

I bought some organic milk from our local co-op once and opened it just before we went on a 40-day juice fast. I thought I’d give this milk to our cat (knowing it would spoil soon and we’d have to get a smaller container for the cat.) It was in the refrigerator for over three weeks and the milk has not spoiled! How can this be?

I know of NO milk that can stay fresh that long. Do they irradiate milk now? It says on the label “Ultra Pasteurized.”

I asked around and found another woman, Crys, who had a similar experience. She related, “For some reason, I was out of milk or something. (This was a while ago. I can’t remember why. Usually I always have milk since I milk my own goat every day.) Anyway, I just must have something to put in my morning coffee.

Locally, I could get Horizon organic Half & Half, so I bought a pint, opened it, used a little and then left it on my kitchen table and forgot about it for a week and a half. (I’m not known for my housekeeping.) So, when it finally came time to neaten things up, I cautiously approached the almost full half & half expecting the worst. Well, there was nothing wrong with it. Didn’t smell bad. Wasn’t curdled. Ah, isn’t modern technology grand!”

Well, maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. Crys emailed me a paper written by the Weston A. Price Foundation which is quite reputable when it comes to exposing products that putrefy our environment and could damage our physical beings:

To read the full story, In the Kitchen with Mother Linda: Ultra Pasteurized Milk, here’s the link:     By Linda Joyce Forristal, CCP, MTA

Here are a few things that surprised me:

The official U.S. government definition of an ultra-pasteurized dairy product stipulates “such product shall have been thermally processed at or above 280° F for at least 2 seconds, either before or after packaging, so as to produce a product which has an extended shelf life under refrigerated conditions.” Confusingly, ultra-pasteurized milk is oftentimes referred to as or labeled as UHT, for “ultra-high temperature.” It is the high-temperature processing that gives the milk an extended shelf life (ESL).

280 Degrees? That’s way more than boiling. We do we need this? And did you know that UHT milk remains stable at room temperature for up to six months? Its extended shelf life with refrigeration in standard packaging, such as plastic bottles, is up to 50 days!

Wow. What does this mean to us and our digestion process of the milk when so many of us are already lactose intolerant?

According to Lee Dexter, microbiologist and owner of White Egret Farm goat dairy in Austin, Texas, ultra-pasteurization is an extremely harmful process to inflict on the fragile components of milk. Dexter explains that milk proteins are complex, three-dimensional molecules, like tinker toys. They are broken down and digested when special enzymes fit into the parts that stick out.

Rapid heat treatments like pasteurization, and especially ultra-pasteurization, actually flatten the molecules so the enzymes cannot do their work. If such proteins pass into the bloodstream (a frequent occurrence in those suffering from “leaky gut,” a condition that can be brought on by drinking processed commercial milk), the body perceives them as foreign proteins and mounts an immune response. That means a chronically overstressed immune system and much less energy available for growth and repair.

During the heating process, some compounds of the milk impart a very strong cabbagy flavor that is most noticeable immediately after heating. These compounds dissipate during storage, but approximately one month into storage, UHT milk begins to deteriorate and is described in the industry as “stale.” In these later stages of storage, a bitter taste develops, and then it undergoes “age gelation,” a process in which the milk becomes more viscous and eventually loses fluidity. (Gross!)

So, it seems the optimum time to drink UHT milk with any degree of enjoyment, if that’s even possible, is limited to the interval between the dissipation of the cabbage flavor and the onset of staleness, bitterness and gelatinous conditions. In the U.S., these off-flavors seem to go unnoticed, which makes me wonder whether some kind of flavorings or other chemicals are being added to UHT milk? I did note that my cat did not particularly want to drink this milk. I thought that maybe she wasn’t used to organic milk, but maybe she got a whiff of that cabbagy smell?

Do you purchase milk that was packaged in plastic milk jugs? Well, one study took samples of this milk and found that all the samples contained measurable levels of endocrine disrupting substances that leaked from the plastic of the containers, or plastic lining the containers. Even when kept cold, plastic will leach some chemicals into the liquid it contains; filling plastic-lined containers with superheated milk or subjecting liquid-filled containers to high heat is a recipe for hormonal disaster.

(What does this mean? Increased infertility, hypothyroidism, hyperestrogenism, and a bunch of other diseases. Sounds awfully dangerous to me.)

Why does the industry feel they need to ultra pasteurize? They say it’s because many organisms have become heat resistant and now survive the pasteurization process. The Johne’s, or paratuberculosis bacterium, is a good example. Johne’s disease is endemic in today’s confinement dairies and has been linked to Crohn’s disease in humans. Many samples of pasteurized milk now test positive for Johne’s bacteria, Bacillus cereus, botulism spores and protozoan parasites.

What’s worse is that State and Federal protocols are trying to make this type of pasteurization a standard in the industry. Such a move would redefine ultra-pasteurization as “pasteurization” so that the words “ultra-pasteurization” or UHT might then not have to appear on the label.

Try making home-made yogurt out of this stuff. Apparently it doesn’t even set; it curdles making a cottage-cheese texture.

Since ultra-pasteurized or UHT milk will not adequately support microbial life, it is unlikely that it will adequately support human life either.

Great. Got Milk?

Helpful Links and References for Ultrapasteurized Milk: