Monday, September 21, 2009

Homogenized, Pasteurized and Raw Milk


Homogenization is performed to preserve the consistency of a substance that is prone to separation, most commonly in milk. When milk has not been homogenized, the cream will begin to separate and rise to the top when left to sit. To prevent this, the milk is shot through a filter, which effectively divides the fat globules into a size more conducive for emulsification.

Some believe that homogenization contributes to heart disease. In the 1970’s, a Connecticut researcher named Dr. Kurt A. Oster had a controversial theory that homogenization caused an enzyme present in milk called xanthine oxidase (or XO) to be more easily absorbed by the body. XO absorption would lead to plasmogen breakdown, which led to arterial plaque formation. This theory has since been vehemently refuted.


Louis Pasteur developed the pasteurization process in the mid 1800’s to initially preserve the taste of wine and beer. It can be performed on a multitude of products ranging from crabs to soy sauce. In addition to adding shelf life to certain items, it also reduced the amount of pathogens and other harmful microorganisms present without full sterilization.

Milk is pasteurized when briefly passed through heated metal pipes or plates to a temperature of 161 degrees. Milk can be ultra pasteurized when heated to 280 degrees for a fraction of a second (this will be indicated on the product’s label with the letters “UHT”).

Pasteurization significantly lengthens the shelf life of milk from a couple of weeks to up to a few months.

Raw milk

Many milk drinkers, including some dairy farmers, believe that raw, unpasteurized milk is superior in flavor and nutrition. In the United States, it is legal in 28 of our 50 states to sell raw milk, Connecticut being one of them. Raw milk supporters encourage a movement against factory farms where treatment and conditions of animals contribute to the disease and harmful organisms found in milk. They believe that healthy cows do not produced diseased milk, and therefore the need for pasteurization is eliminated.

You can find raw milk in Connecticut at these locations.

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