Quality on the Line: Challenge or Dilemma: Extending Shelf-Life or Stretching Code?
Ultra High Temperatures (UHT) and Extended Shelf-Life (ESL) processing and packaging systems are proven methods of extending shelf-life. These processes have gained acceptance for selected low-volume items, but have not been widely utilized for the high-volume fluid milk products. Unfortunately, there are no magic solutions for extending the shelf-life of products processed and packaged using conventional equipment.
Shelf-life can be maximized by strict adherence to the basics in three essential areas of production and distribution. Let's take a brief look at each area:
Raw Milk Quality: Quality starts at the farm and must be maintained through delivery and storage prior to processing. There are three cardinal principles to achieving quality standards:
- Keep it CLEAN-Effective sanitation practices.
- Keep it COLD-Cool quickly and keep temperature below 40