Ultra-high-temperature processing

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A Tetra Pak ultra-pasteurization line.

Ultra-high temperature processing (UHT), or ultra-heat treatment sterilizes food by heating it above 135°C (275°F) - the temperature required to kill spores in milk - for 1 to 2 seconds.[1] UHT is most commonly used in milk production, but the process is also used for fruit juices, cream, soy milk, yogurt, wine, soups, honey, and stews.[1] UHT milk was invented in the 1960s, and became generally available for consumption in the 1970s.[2]

High heat during the UHT process can cause Maillard browning and change the taste and smell of dairy products.[3]

UHT milk has a typical shelf life of six to nine months, until opened. It can be contrasted with HTST pasteurization (high temperature/short time), in which the milk is heated to 72°C (161.6°F) for at least 15 seconds.


  • Calories
UHT milk contains the same number of calories as pasteurized milk.
  • Calcium
UHT and pasteurized milk contains the same amount of calcium.
  • Protein
UHT milk's protein structure is different from that of pasteurized milk, which prevents it from separating in cheese making.[4]
  • Folate
UHT milk contains 1 μg of folate per 100 g, while pasteurized milk contains 9 μg.[5]
Some nutritional loss can occur in UHT milk.[6]


UHT milk has seen large success in much of Europe, where across the continent as a whole 7 out of 10 Europeans drink it regularly.[7] In fact, in a hot country such as Spain, UHT is preferred due to high costs of refrigerated transportation and "inefficient cool cabinets".[8] Europe's largest manufacturer, Parmalat, had $6 billion of sales in 1999.[7] UHT is less popular in Northern Europe and Scandinavia, particularly in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is also less popular in Greece, where fresh pasteurized milk is the most popular type of milk.

UHT milk as a percentage of total consumption[9]
Country percent
 Austria 20.3
 Belgium 96.7
 Croatia 73[10]
 Czech Republic 71.4
 Denmark 0.0
 Finland 2.4
 France 95.5
 Brazil 88.1
 Germany 66.1
 Greece 0.9
 Hungary 35.1
 Ireland 10.9
 Italy 49.8
 Netherlands 20.2[citation needed]
 Norway 5.3
 Poland 48.6
 Portugal 92.9
 Slovakia 35.5
 Spain 95.7
 Sweden 5.5
  Switzerland 62.8
 Turkey 53.1
 United Kingdom 8.4

In June 1993, Parmalat introduced its UHT milk to the United States.[11] However in the American market, consumers have been uneasy about consuming milk that is not delivered under refrigeration, and have been much more reluctant to buy it. To combat this, Parmalat is developing UHT milk in old-fashioned containers. Many milk products in American foods are made using UHT milk, such as McDonalds McFlurries. UHT milk is also used on airplanes.

UHT milk is sold on American military bases in Puerto Rico[12] and Korea due to limited availability of milk supplies and refrigeration.

UHT milk gained popularity in Puerto Rico as an alternative to pasteurized milk due to environmental factors. For example, power outages after a hurricane can last up to 2 weeks, during which time regular pasteurized milk would spoil from lack of refrigeration.


In 2008, the UK government proposed a 90% UHT milk production target by 2020[13] which they believed would significantly cut the need for refrigeration, and thus benefit the environment by reducing green house emissions.[14] However the milk industry opposed this, and the proposition was quickly abandoned.

In Thailand, there are environmental concerns relating to UHT milk cartons. Tetra Pak (Thai) Ltd. is due to "establish Southeast Asia's first recycling plant for used UHT drink containers".[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "UHT Processing". University of Guelph, Department of Dairy Science and Technology. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  2. ^ Elliott, Valerie (2007-10-15). "Taste for a cool pinta is a British Tradition". London: The Times. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  3. ^ Clare, D.A.; W.S. Bang, G. Cartwright, M.A. Drake, P. Coronel and J. Simunovic (1 December 2005). "Comparison of Sensory, Microbiological, and Biochemical Parameters of Microwave Versus Indirect UHT Fluid Skim Milk During Storage". Journal of Dairy Science 88 (12): 4172–4182. doi:10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(05)73103-9. PMID 16291608. 
  4. ^ "How To Make Paneer Cheese in 30 Minutes". The Kitchn. Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  5. ^ "Taste for a cool pinta is a British tradition". The Times. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  6. ^ Greg Morago (27 December 2003). "UHT: Milking it for all it's worth". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  7. ^ a b Solomon. Zaichkowsky, Polegato.Consumer Behavior: Pearson, Toronto. 2005. pg 39
  8. ^ "Without prejudice.". Dairy Industries International. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  9. ^ Elliott, Valerie (2007-10-15). "The UHT route to long-life planet". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  10. ^ "Udio trajnog mlijeka veći od 70%". Ja Trgovac. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  11. ^ Janofsky, Michael (1993-06-26). "Seeking to Change U.S. Tastes; Italian Company Sings The Praises of UHT Milk". The New York TImes. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  12. ^ "Dairyman wants to send milk to Middle East". Deseret News. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  13. ^ "Dairy Road Map outlines target for greenhouse gas cut". Farmers Guardian. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  14. ^ Elliott, Valerie (2007-10-15). "The UHT route to long-life planet". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  15. ^ "Tetra Pak to set up recycling facility,". The Nation. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 

External links[edit]