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One thing many people might not realize is that there are several different types of pasteurization. While unpasteurized milk is still far superior to pasteurized milk, many of us don’t have access to or can’t afford raw milk. So, I thought it was important that people know what the different kinds of pasteurization are. There are three methods that are most commonly used.

1. High Temperature, Short Time (HTST) method – This method requires that the milk be held at 161 degrees for 16 seconds. This process, also refereed to as continuous flow pasteurization, requires the milk to be forced through metal pipes that are heated from the outside.

2. Ultra-Pasteurization (UP) – This is the type of pasteurization that you will most commonly see on cartons of milk,  half-and-half and heavy cream. It produces a product that has a stable shelf life of up to two months! The UP method requires that the milk be held at 280 degrees for 2 seconds. Most commercial milk brands use this form of pasteurization since it is the quickest and cheapest.

3. Vat Pasteurization – Vat Pasteurization is the most gentle type of pasteurization. If you can find milk products that have been processed using this type of pasteurization, they will be your best bet if you can’t get raw milk. The vat process requires that the milk to be held in a heated vat at 145 degrees for 30 minutes. It is then quickly cooled to 39 degrees. This type of pasteurization is more expensive, which is why products that have been produced using it are difficult to find. The only one I have been able to find in Denver is at Vitamin Cottage and it is called Kalona Organics. There might be other brands that are carried at small specialty shops, but I am not aware of any. The other nice thing about the milk from Kolona Organics is that it is non-homogenized.

Does your local health food store sell a brand of milk that is Vat pasteurized? I’d love to hear what other brands are out there.

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