Pasteurization is used to kill the pathogens present in milk produced in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations).
It shouldn’t be necessary in the production of raw milk because the whole raw milk process includes high levels of animal welfare and hygiene which are designed to create an inherently safe product.
However there’s a lot of adverse publicity against raw milk and there’s certainly a market for “pasteurized” raw milk. All the benefits of raw milk without any real or perceived risk (no matter how small or inconsequential).
The answer could be a new technology commonly used in the olive oil and juice industry, which allows milk producers to kill any pathogens using pressure rather than heat (it’s the heat of pasteurization that removes some of the benefits of raw milk).
The Technology Behind Cold Pressed Raw Milk
Cold pressed raw milk is made safe and kept fresh using High Pressure Processing (HPP) technology. HPP is a gentle and natural way to preserve food and drink products, without the use of additives or heat. It relies on using cold high pressure to destroy any pathogens that may be present.
What Happens to the Pathogens When You Cold Press Raw Milk?
Pathogens can’t survive the HPP environment as they’re inactivated by the high pressure. It does this by modifying the cellular membranes and interrupting the cellular functions, which are responsible for reproduction.
This creates an environment where pathogens can’t grow and multiply, neutralizing the environment so that nothing potentially harmful can grow in the product, making the milk totally safe to drink.
How does high Pressure Processing Work?
The HPP process begins by loading a vessel with sealed bottles filled with cold raw milk. The vessel is then moved into the HPP machine where air pumps cold water through tiny holes into the vessel.
The movement of water pushing through the holes creates a build-up of very high pressure, which is applied evenly to the bottles of milk inside the vessel. This is known as isostatic pressure and because the same level of pressure is applied to every part of the bottle, it doesn’t damage or compress them.
Pathogens that may be present in the raw milk are destroyed in this high pressure environment, delivering an equivalent level of safety as heat pasteurization, only without the heat.
The benefit over using heat for pasteurization is that high pressure doesn’t impact the smaller molecules such as vitamins and enzymes. It’s down to the size of the molecule; pathogens are large and their cellular membranes are impacted by the high pressure. Vitamins and enzymes are tiny in comparison and aren’t affected.
Once the high pressure is applied and released, the vessel moves out of the HPP machine and the bottles are unloaded and boxed, ready to ship to stores.
The Bottom Line
While it’s not necessarily essential in the production of raw milk, cold press technology provides a great way of combining the benefits or raw milk with the peace of mind of an effective pasteurization process.
If it’s available in your area and you have any doubts about unpasteurized raw milk then give it a try.
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