An article published in the Journal of Dairy Science examined the New York state fluid milk improvement program, which has been working for more than a decade to improve consumer acceptance and shelf life of fluid milk. The article says that challenges such as post-pasteurization contamination can be overcome, resulting in higher quality products for consumers.

This study assessed the quality of fluid milk between 2001 and 2010. During that time, the researchers found that post-pasteurization contamination was a major limit to longer shelf life.

Microbial quality at seven days post-processing predicted the final shelf life and sensory score of the product. The presence of coliforms, which indicated post-pasteurization contamination, in the initial packaged product testing indicated lower sensory scores.

The study found that the manufacturing plant was significantly correlated to quality. Plant-specific factors such as the pasteurization process, cleaning regimen and personnel training were discussed in relationship to product quality.

A previous study by Martin, et al., showed that pasteurization temperatures higher than those required by the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) reduced milk's shelf life.


The researchers recommend establishing strict cleaning protocols and optimizing processing parameters to continue fluid milk improvements for higher consumer acceptance.

Article details:
Martin NH, Carey NR, Murphy SC, Wiedmann M, Boor KJ. A decade of improvement: New York State fluid milk quality. J Dairy Sci. 2012;95(12):7384-7390.

Click here to read the article's abstract. PD

—From Dairy Research Insights