It is a known fact that milk; a highly nutritive beverage is highly perishable with a very short lifespan.
Milk processing methods come to rescue, by considerably increasing the life of milk. Allowing it to be transported easily within local as well as international markets.
Let us go into details of milk processing in this blog…
In line with above-mentioned; the life of raw milk is indeed short since it is an excellent medium for the growth of microorganisms – particularly bacterial pathogens – that can cause spoilage and diseases in consumers.
However, processing it allows the preservation of milk for days, weeks or months and helps reduce food-borne illness.
There are 3 methods in which milk is processed, let us look at each of these:
1. Cooling or Fermentation:
Temperature is the factor that has the most effect on the life of liquid, raw milk. In the process of cooling or fermentation, the raw milk flows through stainless steel or glass pipes to a refrigerated bulk milk tank where it is cooled to about 40° F (4.4° C). These tanks then play a vital role in transporting milk locally.
This is a heat treatment process. It extends the usable life of milk and reduces the numbers of possible pathogenic microorganisms to levels at which they do not represent a significant health hazard. Ideally, milk must be heater to 161°F (72° C) for a minimum period of 15 seconds.
3. Conversion into concentrated high value products:
Milk can be processed further to be converted it into high-value, concentrated and easily transportable dairy products with long shelf lives, such as butter, cheese and ghee.
The first two categories are what most people are aware of,
Let us look closely into conversion of milk into milk products.
Raw milk, in order to be converted into high value products, needs surpass both the above-mentioned methods, i.e. milk once collected, needs to be cooled to a temperature of 4 degree C, this chilled is then transported to milk plants, where it is pasteurized in a milk pasteurizer and cream is separated from it by a cream separator. Thus giving 2 primary by products, cream and skimmed milk.
This skimmed milk goes into further processing depending on the requirement of the product, like, toned milk, double toned milk, skimmed milk, and full cream milk. These products are then sent for packaging, where the machines pack them into pouches of ½ liter, 1 liter, etc.
The separated cream too goes into further processing to get products like ghee and butter.
Here are simple benefits of processing milk;
Processing milk gives small-scale dairy produces higher and stable cash income as compared to selling raw milk.
- It creates better opportunities for small-scale producers to reach regional and urban markets.
- It helps deals with seasonal fluctuations in milk supply.
- It generates off-farm jobs, such as milk collection, transportation, processing and marketing.
- Processed products have a greater demand in the international market.