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Consumer Awareness

Milk may be defined as the whole, fresh, clean, lacteal secretion obtained by complete milking of one or more healthy milch animals, excluding that obtained within 15 days before or 5 days after calving or such periods as may be necessary to render the milk practically colostrum-free and containing the minimum prescribed percentages of milk fat and SNF. SNF stands for Solid-Not-Fat i.e. apart from fat all other solids, like vitamins, minerals, protein, lactose put together make SNF. This is why; SNF is the most essential part of the milk.
In India, the term ‘milk’, when unqualified, refers to cow or buffalo milk, or a combination thereof.

Raw milk procured from villages, contain numerous pathogenic and spoilage bacteria. These microorganisms, if allowed to grow, multiply at logarithmic rate and produce many toxins and enzymes and spoil milk. Hence milk is processed by heat treatment in dairies. Various types of heat-treatment given to milk are as below –

Pasteurization
The term Pasteurization has been named after its inventor, Louis Pasteur of France. Pasteurization refers to the process of heating every particle of milk to at least 72oC for 15 seconds (or to any temperature-time combination which is equally efficient), in approved and properly operated equipment. After pasteurization, the milk is immediately cooled to 6oC or below. In this process, pathogenic and spoilage organisms are destroyed. Normally pasteurized milk is packed in sachets and shall be stored under refrigeration conditions, so as to prevent the growth of remaining organisms in milk. Pasteurized milk has a shelf life of 2 days when stored and transported under refrigeration conditions. This milk is boiled and consumed in Indian homes.

Sterilization
Sterilized milk is manufactured by filling into bottles and heating bottled milk to not less than120oC for minimum period of 15 minutes. After heating, sterilized milk bottles are gradually cooled to room temperature. Due to economic disadvantages and browning of milk, this process is used only for bottled flavored milk. This Sterilized milk has a shelf-life of not less than 3 months, even at room temperature, and can be consumed directly.

Ultra High Temperature (UHT)
During the process of UHT, milk is heat-treated to temperature of 137oC for 4 seconds and cooled instantly which retains all the vitamins and nutritional value of milk providing zero bacteria product which needs no boiling. The milk is packed in 6 layer tamper proofed Tetra-pack packaging which prevents the milk from spoilage due to sunlight, bacteria, germs and oxygen, thus ensuring freshness and purity of milk packed. The milk can be stored without refrigeration for 90 days in Fino-Packaging and 180 days in Brick Packaging.

Homogenization
Any of the above class and type of milk may be homogenized. Homogenized milk is milk which has been treated in such a manner as to ensure break-up of the fat globules in milk to such an extent that after storage no visible cream separation occurs on the milk. Milk is homogenized using a high-precision & expensive equipment known as Homogenizer, which consists of a high pressure piston pump to force milk at high pressures (and velocity) through a narrow opening between the homogenizing valve and its seat; the fat globules in the milk are thereby sub-divided into smaller particles of more uniform size. Cream layer formation does not take place in homogenized milk.
Milk pack, that is available in the market, contains printed details about the type of heat-treatment that the milk contained in the pack has undergone – Pasteurized / Sterilized / Ultra High Treated (UHT); the class of milk as per PFA Act – Toned / Double Toned / Full Cream Milk / Cow Milk / Buffalo Milk / Skim Milk; if any other processing – Homogenized, etc. For instance, if Toned Milk is pasteurized and also homogenized, it is designated as “Pasteurized Homogenized Toned Milk.”

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