A Purdue University study may have big impacts on the dairy supply chain.
Purdue researchers confirmed that a new process, similar to pasteurization, adds weeks to the shelf life of milk.
To pasteurize milk, you heat it up to 72 degrees Celsius for 15 seconds. That kills enough bacteria for the milk to last about two weeks before it goes bad.
The new process heats pasteurized milk in droplet form -- for less than a second, to about 60 degrees.
Purdue food scientist Bruce Applegate says it can be done at no cost with leftover heat, killing almost all remaining bacteria without changing taste or nutrition.
The process adds three to nine weeks to milk's shelf life – which Applegate says lets producers ship milk farther, and retailers store it for longer before sale.
"Most milk is sold very close to where it's produced because you can minimize the transport time," he says. "You're losing time when it's being transported."
The process could be used on juice, too -- but Applegate says it probably won't replace pasteurization altogether anytime soon. He says pasteurization is so ingrained in federal regulations that the new technique will be more practical as an add-on.
In fact, it's already been approved for that use in Ohio.