TERMS TO KNOW
Sterilization refers to any process that eliminates (removes) or kills all forms of life, including transmissible agents (such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, spore forms, etc.) contained in a food, liquid, etc. To keep milk for longer than few days at ambient temperature, it needs to be sterilized. The traditional process involves heating milk in a sealed container in the temperature range 114–120 degrees C for 20–30 minutes. More recently, UHT processes have been introduced. When UHT is combined with sterile handling and container technology (such as aseptic packaging), it can even be stored unrefrigerated for 6–9 months. UHT processing holds the milk at a temperature of 135 degrees C (275 degrees F) for a minimum of one second. Milk simply labelled ‘pasteurized’ is usually treated with the HTST method, whereas milk labelled ‘ultrapasteurized’ or simply ‘UHT’ has been treated with the UHT method.