Ultra-pasteurization, the most widely used pasteurization process for milk in Europe and throughout the world, is a more recently developed process. The ultra-pasteurization process is often referred to as “Ultra High Temperature,” or UHT pasteurization. The UHT process heats the milk to 280° F for only two seconds, and eliminates a larger percentage of bacteria than HTST pasteurization. When coupled with sterile packaging, the ultra-pasteurization process creates an extended shelf life.
Once the product is processed, it can be packaged in two different ways depending on the customer need. Many companies, especially those in Europe package the product in “shelf-stable” or “aseptic” packaging. This packaging will allow the product to be shipped and store unrefrigerated for a shelf life of up to one year. At Cumberland Dairy, we utilize ESL (extended shelf life) packaging technology which looks very comparable to a traditional dairy package, but is filled in a sterile filling environment. While this package looks similar to others on the shelf, we can achieve a much longer shelf life under proper refrigerated temperatures due to the combination of the ultra-pasteurization and the ESL packaging. Depending on the product we are producing, it can carry a refrigerated shelf life of 60 to 90 days.