What is Pasteurization?
Pasteurization makes milk safe to drink and increases the length of time it can be kept before it spoils.
It involves heating milk to high temperatures to kill harmful bacteria that can cause illness. The goal of this process is to destroy any bacteria that may be present during milking and that cause diseases such as salmonellosis. Pasteurization does not involve the use of any additives.
Learn more about raw milk and pasteurization.
Effects on Nutrients
The nutrient losses due to pasteurization are so small they are considered insignificant. According to Dairy Goodness, “researchers in Ontario reviewed and analyzed 40 studies on the effects of pasteurization and the nutritional value of milk. The first finding: pasteurization has a small effect on the vitamins naturally found in milk. And contrary to raw milk, which only contains a small amount of vitamin D, pasteurized milk is fortified with this vitamin, which promotes calcium absorption and plays a key role in bone health. Only levels of riboflavin, or vitamin B2, decrease significantly during the pasteurization process. Nevertheless, pasteurized milk is still an important dietary source of this vitamin.”
Sources: Brown AC. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation, 4th Ed., Cengage Learning, 2011, Chapter 10, Milk; 214-15. Macdonald LE et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of pasteurization on milk vitamins, and evidence for raw milk consumption and other health-related outcomes. J Food Prot 2011;74(11):1814-32.