A couple of weeks back some bloggers were invited to TetraPak and we got to find out more about UHT milk and the process that UHT goes through in order to last as long as it does. Many people have preconceptions about UHT milk and why it lasts so long. Many people assume that it is because it has chemicals which enables it to have a longer shelf life. This has made people shun this milk and buy the normal milk which has a shelf life of about 3-4 days. But there are numerous advantages that UHT has over the normal packaged milk.
Why should you buy packaged milk over loose milk straight from the Maasai’s cow? The prevailing belief is that if you boil loose milk, you kill the bacteria and other contaminants just as effectively. When it comes to loose milk, you have to hope that all the necessary precautions were taken. Milk is highly vulnerable to contamination which can occur at any stage from the collection to the transportation to the storage and retail stages. And the argument that you can boil it at home to purify it is erroneous because the temperature at which milk is boiled at home can never be high enough to destroy all the bacteria and microorganisms not to mention the fact that nutrients are destroyed when milk is boiled at home for several minutes.
First, UHT milk undergoes rigorous safety and quality tests throughout its life cycle. From the milking and collection to the ultra-high treatment to the packaging and distribution, stringent safety requirements are enforced. Ultra High Treatment subjects milk to high temperatures for barely four seconds thus preserving the nutrients and effectively killing the germs. The milk then passes through heating and cooling stages in quick succession then immediately put into a sterile Tetra Pak six-layer carton sealing it off and effectively preventing any contamination. Milk that has been thus treated can last up to six months without refrigeration. The milk also has no preservatives added to it and requires none because of the meticulously regulated treatment process. This is known as aseptic milk packaging.
The ‘6-Layer’ concept is a unique packaging method that is a true signature of Tetra Pak’s innovative technology. It consists largely of high-quality paperboard, some polyethylene and aluminium. The paperboard provides stiffness, strength and shape to the package. The polyethylene protects against outside moisture, works as an adhesive and serves to seal in the liquid. The aluminium foil acts as a barrier for oxygen and light thus eliminating the need for refrigeration and preservatives. The layers work in perfect unison to preserve the quality of the packaged milk.
UHT milk requires no preservatives or additives which are a source of great concern when it comes to overall health and can last for up to six months without refrigeration. Your milk is pure and free of all contaminants whether accidental in the form of bacteria or on purpose in the form of additives and preservatives and still as nutritious and as tasty as ever. From the milking stool to your breakfast table UHT strives to ensure that your milk is safe to drink, nutritious and as delicious as you have come to expect.
During the visit to Tetra Pak we also learnt about how Tetra Pak is conserving the environment. One of the greatest threats mankind faces is climate change and Tetra Pak is taking very concerted measures on its end to deal with the environment question. Nothing engenders loyalty to a company more than knowing that they care about so much more than their bottom-line. Around three-quarters of a Tetra Pak carton by weight is paperboard and it is not lost on the company that their practices have an effect on the environment. For this reason, Tetra Pak has adopted responsible sourcing as a key pillar of their operations.
Although they don’t own or manage any forests, they through their purchasing power promote sustainable forest management. As a major user of paperboard, they are conscious of their responsibility to ensure the world’s forests are managed in a socially, environmentally and economically sound way. They have joined up with suppliers, NGO’s and other stakeholders to promote responsible forest management and strengthen traceability through certification and labelling. All their paperboard comes from wood from forests certified to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards and other controlled sources. Look for the FSC logo on their packages.
Tetra Pak also believes in post-consumer recycling as an investment in our collective future. For Tetra Pak, when recycled beverage cartons are given a new life, they help protect natural resources, reduce climate impact and contribute to communities, to this end they have partnered with EkoTech in East Africa who recycle the packets into Eko boards that are used for construction. EkoTech sources waste directly from the Tetra Pak factory and also from customer sites and post-consumer sources.