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Old 11-13-2006, 07:19 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,709
Pasteurized Milk Spoiling.

Why does pasteurized milk left in a sealed container still spoil? I mean, what then is the purpose of the pasteurization? And is pasteurization different from canning?

Thank you in advance to all who reply
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Old 11-13-2006, 07:31 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: was Montreal, now MD
Posts: 7,116
From the Wiki page on Pasteurization:

Unlike sterilization, pasteurization is not intended to kill all micro-organisms (pathenogenic) in the food. Instead, pasteurization aims to achieve a "log reduction" in the number of viable organisms, reducing their number so they are unlikely to cause disease (assuming the pasteurized product is refrigerated and consumed before its expiration date). Commercial scale sterilization of food is not common, because it adversely affects the taste and quality of the product.
Basically, not all the organisms are killed. Milk is something you keep in the fridge, and something you're supposed to consume fairly quickly after it's purchased, so there isn't much chance for those few bacteria left behind to multiply and do much damage.

Leave them in there long enough, though, and they will grow and take over, spoiling the milk. Milk that stays in the fridge the whole time will take a lot longer to spoil because the bacteria are slowed down by the temperature, but it will still happen eventually.
Old 11-13-2006, 11:00 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Arlington, TX
Posts: 3,262
Alas, pasteurization does kill the microorganisms that cause milk to go sour, which is a relatively benign process. It's the pasteurization trade-off--drastically decreased likelihood of being sickened or killed by your milk, in exchange for increased difficulty in doing other neat things with it. If you want to make sour milk or cream, buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, etc. from pasteurized milk, you need to 'seed' it with a culture of the appropriate bacteria or mold. That's the 'cultured' in the 'cultured sour cream' you find at the grocery store.
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:36 PM
ftg ftg is offline
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OTOH, UHT milk is widely available and lasts quite a while unrefrigerated.
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