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Milk can be consumed as a stand-alone product (whole, low-fat or skim) or can be the starting point for food industry products such as cheese, butter, yogurt, condensed milk, and ice cream. To make high quality dairy products, the raw milk undergoes different processes such as pasteurization, homogenization, and fermentation.

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Equipment for making dairy products – How milk is processed

Dairy processing equipment covers multiple sub-processes to ensure product quality is at its highest. Since milk is the main ingredient of dairy products, the standard process first requires a pasteurization process. A pasteurizer unit helps to remove harmful bacteria from the milk and extend its shelf life through heating using heat exchangers. From then on, pasteurized milk undergoes different processes depending on the desired output. Usually, the milk goes through a homogenizer after pasteurizing. This improves the milk’s texture before it goes to a fermentation vat where the good bacteria (also known as “starter culture”) is added. When the fermented milk reaches a desired level of acidity, it is cooled down to end the fermentation process.

Regulations relating to dairy products

Standards to produce dairy products vary according to countries and regions. For products such as yogurt, there are classifications based on the content of milk fat or protein. For cheese, there are standards about how much moisture or milk fat it must contain, or in case it is made from unpasteurized milk, there is a required aging time. Processes also have regulations. For example in the United States, during the pasteurization process, every particle of milk must be heated to 143 °F (61.7 °C) for 30 minutes (holding method) or to 160 °F (71.1 °C) for 15 seconds (flash method).

Hybrids as an alternative dairy product

Nowadays, plant-based dairy products are booming in the market – in fact, plant-based milk is a product that even non-vegans can’t do without. This is why people have more and more interest in adding more greens to their diet, having a healthier lifestyle, or a lactose-free diet – in fact, lactose intolerance affects 5-17% of Europeans and about 44% of North Americans. However, since not everyone is totally ready to give up the original flavors of milk, many companies are turning to hybrid dairy products that can offer both of the best worlds. Hybrids are a combination of plant-based proteins and traditional dairy products – for instance, almond milk and cow’s milk. With hybrids, people can still enjoy the original flavor of milk with less sugar, lower fats, fewer calories, and high sources of dietary fiber.

Aseptic filling as a production requirement for dairy products

Aseptic filling is a necessary process in the dairy industry that requires a sterile environment for operation. Because of it, equipment, containers, and packaging material are sterilized using steam, heat, and other treatments. This ensures that the product is free from contaminants and safe for consumption.

How sterilizers achieve a long shelf life for dairy products

One of the most common yet important processes in the production of dairy foods and products is sterilization. This food processing step ensures a clean final product and helps achieve a long shelf life. The products are heated for a certain amount of time and then cooled in preparation for packing. An autoclave is used as equipment to perform such tasks.

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