Organic milk lasts longer because producers use a different process to preserve it.

Horizon shelf-stable and refrigerated milk are both organic. We use Tetra Pak® cartons that lock in nutrition and great taste and lock out air and light. As a result, the treated milk has a long shelf life, measured in months, even at room temperature. We do not recommend consuming any milk products past the sell-by date.

Regular milk can undergo UHT, too. UHT sweetens the flavor of milk by burning some of its sugars (caramelization). Europeans, however, don’t seem to mind. It is often labeled ultrapasteurized. ), 11 hours ago — Chelsea Harvey and E&E News, 15 hours ago — Meghan Bartels and Why does organic milk have a longer shelf life, as signified by later expiration dates, than regular milk? According to Organic Valley[1], they use two forms of pasteurization for their milk. One reason is that UHT-treated milk tastes different. The HTST process is designed to kill the disease-causing micro-organisms that are of concern in milk — for example, the Q fever agent, Coxiella burnetii — so the milk is safe for consumption. Both are real milk. What makes shelf-stable different is how it’s pasteurized and packaged. The process is used for the room-temperature Parmalat milk found outside the refrigerator case and for most milk sold in Europe. Milk that undergoes UHT doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can sit on the shelf for up to six months. Organic Valley farmers helped write the standards on organic pastures—and every day, we work to exceed those standards. So what is it about organic milk that makes it stay fresh so long? Retailers typically give pasteurized milk an expiration date of four to six days. Both are delicious. Milk is heated to a very high temperature for just a few seconds, which destroys bacteria for a longer shelf life. If unopened, the freshness of Organic Valley milk is guaranteed up to the sell-by date. There are, of course, lots of reasons people buy organic milk. This helps eliminate bacteria and keeps out light, air and harmful contaminants. A. Why does organic milk have a longer shelf life, as signified by later expiration dates, than regular milk? A Horizon milk box delivers 8 grams of protein and a good source of calcium, along with the goodness of real organic milk. (The error occurred during editing by the staff of and is not the fault of  the expert.

Many of the recycled cartons get a second life as paper products and building materials. Actually, it turns out that it has nothing to do with the milk being organic. Find out more about what shelf-stable milk is, and how it differs from refrigerated milk. Number of Views 37. There are two types of pasteurization: "low temperature, long time," in which milk is heated to 145 degrees F (63 degrees C) for at least 30 minutes*, or the more common "high temperature, short time," in which milk is heated to roughly 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) for at least 15 seconds. Our single-serve milk boxes are also shelf-stable, so you can store them in the pantry and take them anywhere—for lunches, for travel, at sports practice or to the park. The process for shelf-stable milk is called UHT pasteurization, or Ultra High Temperature. Discover world-changing science. Number of Views 24. The first, HTST (Hight Temperature - Short Time), gives the product a 16-21 day shelf life. What is the best way to store Organic Valley Butter? The tastiest and most nutritious milk comes from healthy, happy cows that spend their days in green pastures. The answer relates to the level of heat treatment used for the milk, wrote Carmen I. Moraru, an associate professor in the department of food science at Cornell University. It’s real milk you can store in the pantry, thanks to airtight, no-light packaging. But if it's the long shelf life you're after, I would recommend you buy nonorganic UHT milk and avoid being charged double. *Correction (6/6/08): This sentence originally said "milk is heated to 145 degrees F (63 degrees C) for at least 30 seconds." Most organic milk undergoes the hotter pasteurization process because the organic market is smaller, meaning the milk spends more time in the commercial distribution system and thus has to last longer, Dr. Moraru said. Be sure to follow the recycling instructions on the packaging. A. Milk is pasteurized, which is a process that makes it safe to drink. Most organic milk undergoes a pasteurization process called UHT, for ultrahigh temperature, which involves heating it to more than 280 degrees Fahrenheit for two seconds.

Ahead of that, however, was up to six days of processing and shipping, so total shelf life after pasteurization is probably up to two weeks. Explore our digital archive back to 1845, including articles by more than 150 Nobel Prize winners. Special packaging, along with UHT pasteurization, is the key to shelf-stable milk. Q. ... Related Articles. Q. Conventional milk typically has an expiration date for two weeks and sometime less. According to the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, the milk needs to stay fresh longer because organic products often have to travel farther to reach store shelves since it is not produced throughout the country. Most regular or fresh milk, Dr. Moraru said, is heated only to 161 degrees for a minimum of 15 seconds, a process called HTST — for high temperature, short time. Compare that to pasteurization, the standard preservation process. Our shelf-stable milk gets ultra-pasteurized at higher temperatures (UHT), and then put into Tetra Pak packaging. A lot of Americans find this offensive—just as they are leery of buying nonrefrigerated milk. Retailers typically give pasteurized milk an expiration date of four to six days. The process that gives the milk a longer shelf life is called ultrahigh temperature (UHT) processing or treatment, in which milk is heated to 280 degrees Fahrenheit (138 degrees Celsius) for two to four seconds, killing any bacteria in it. © 2020 Scientific American, a Division of Springer Nature America, Inc. Support our award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. Organic milk typically has a longer expiration date than conventional milk. Is my carton of milk good past the sell-by/expiration date? Never run out of Horizon again—just stock the pantry with shelf-stable. Craig Baumrucker, professor of animal nutrition and physiology at Pennsylvania State University, pours out an answer: If you’ve ever shopped for milk, you’ve no doubt noticed what our questioner has: While regular milk expires within about a week or sooner, organic milk lasts much longer—as long as a month. Always use it by the best-by date and store it in the fridge after opening. Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, hormones to stimulate more milk production. Most people throw out milk after the date on the label has passed. So why isn’t all milk produced using UHT? The second line is the expiration date formatted as month, day, year. The normal expiration date for organic milk is about a month.

The UHT treatment, on the other hand, “is a sterilization process, which means that it kills practically all micro-organisms, both vegetative cells and spores,” Dr. Moraru said in an interview. Number of Views 259. Milk is freshest within 5 days of opening. To learn more about your CA privacy rights, please visit CA Privacy Rights. Subscribers get more award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. With higher temperature pasteurization and special packaging, shelf-stable milk can be stored safely without refrigeration. Pasteurization is the process we use to help eliminate bacteria in milk. The different temperatures hint at why UHT-treated milk lasts longer: Pasteurization doesn’t kill all bacteria in the milk, just enough so that you don't get a disease with your milk mustache. This article explains what the date on your milk means and how long milk is safe to drink after the printed date. How do I maintain the freshness of Half & Half? But some organisms that promote spoilage survive, and the milk will spoil after 14 to 21 days in the refrigerator. UHT, on the other hand, kills everything. All "organic" means is that the farm the milk comes from does not use antibiotics to fight infections in cows or hormones to stimulate more milk production. UHT also destroys some of the milk’s vitamin content—not a significant amount—and affects some proteins, making it unusable for cheese. Milk with either treatment lasts about five days after the container is opened.

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