Milk 102: Raw Milk & Pasteurization

Back in the day milk was delivered directly from the farm to the consumer’s front door. Milk was milk and there weren’t as many options that we have available to us today. Back then consumers could only get raw (unpasteurized) whole milk.

It wasn’t until after the French microbiologist Louis Pasteur developed the process of pasteurization (heating up milk to destroy pathogens and microorganisms), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to enforce milk to be pasteurized prior to distribution and sale across the US.

old milk cans lined up

Health Disclaimer: Health and related lifestyle choices (including diets and dietary needs) are extremely individualistic. Please consult with your doctor before making any lifestyle changes.

The Pasteurization Process

Back in the day milk was delivered directly from the farm to the consumer’s front door. Milk was milk and there weren’t as many options that we have available to us today. Back then consumers could only get raw (unpasteurized) whole milk.

It wasn’t until after the French microbiologist Louis Pasteur developed the process of pasteurization (heating up milk to destroy pathogens and microorganisms), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to enforce milk to be pasteurized prior to distribution and sale across the US.

There are actually a few different forms of pasteurization being vat pasteurization and holding method. The holding method also include subcategories High Temperature Short Time (HTST), Higher Heat Shorter Time (HHST), Ultra High Temperature (UHT), and Ultra Pasteurized (UP).

FAQ: Is Kilgus Farmstead milk pasteurized?

Yes, Kilgus Farmstead milk that is distributed is pasteurized according to Illinois food safety laws. Using the HTST pasteurization method, our milk is heated to 163°F for 15 seconds which destroys any harmful bacteria that may be present in the milk.

Got more questions? Visit our FAQ page.

milk pasteurization machine and vat

Benefits of Pasteurized Milk

In addition to killing harmful bacteria benefits of pasteurization is that it extends the shelf life of milk from a couple weeks up to a month in some cases depending upon the pasteurization method used and storage conditions.

Although pasteurized milk is generally considered safer to consume than raw milk, the process of pasteurization is also know to destroy some of the good nutritional properties found in unpasteurized milk which brings us to raw milk.

unpasteurized milk poured into a mason jar

Benefits of Raw Milk

Some of the positive benefits to raw milk include easy to digest vitamins and minerals (ie vitamins A, thiamine — B1, magnesium, and zinc), protein, healthy fatty acids (ie conjugated linoleum acid — CLA and omega-3s.) Raw milk also qualifies as a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids needed for the human body.

Moreover, raw milk is another alternative for people who are lactose intolerant because it contains the enzyme lactobacilli. Lactobacilli breaks down milk for you without the unpleasant side effects.

Since the FDA banned interstate sales of raw milk, however, in some states consumers can still buy it locally (either at farmers’ markets or retail stores depending on a given state’s milk laws.) The reasoning behind the FDA’s regulations was that pasteurized milk is safer to drink because it had less pathogens in comparison to raw milk.

FAQ: Do you offer raw milk as an option for local purchase?

Kilgus Farmstead has a Raw Milk License through the state of Illinois which allows us to sell raw milk directly to our customers here on our farm. We prefer that you buy our raw milk directly from the Kilgus Farmstead Country Store where it is available in 1/2 gallon and whole gallon jugs. Optionally, you can bring in your own containers and fill them directly from the raw milk tank, however, please contact us before you come because sales are limited to certain days and times.

Got more questions? Visit our FAQ page.

Go to part three: Milk 103: Jerseys the Queen of Quality ➡️