Published On: August 31, 2015

Brazilian Company Improves Milk

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Thanks to advancements made by a Brazilian agribusiness company, it will now be possible to keep fresh milk in the fridge for over two weeks before it goes bad, doubling milk’s usual refrigerator life of about one week, according to a press release from the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP).

Agrindus, a company located in São Carlos in São Paulo state, achieved this feat by including silver-based micro-particles in the plastic used to package milk. Developed by another company, Nanox, this gives the fresh milk bactericidal, antimicrobial, and self-sterilizing properties.

The primary market for the Brazilian company’s new invention, however, will not be in Brazil, but in Europe and the US, which consume more fresh milk than Brazil. In Brazil, ultra-high temperature (UHT) pasteurized milk is more popular than fresh milk. UHT milk has been sterilized at high temperatures to kill bacterial spores, giving it a “shelf life” of around four months at room temperature. Most Brazilians, particularly those families with children, prefer UHT milk for its convenience.

Brazilian milk

UHT milk is sold in large quantities like 10-liter packages, which can then be safely stored on a kitchen shelf for weeks or even months. UHT milk doesn’t need to be refrigerated until an individual package is opened. While some UHT milk is available in Europe, there is no market for it in the US. American consumers are unfamiliar with UHT milk, and thus would fear buying a “box” of milk that is on a shelf in the supermarket. Americans only buy milk that is being refrigerated in the supermarket.

Thus, Agrindus intends to primarily market their product in Europe and the United States. While fresh milk is sold in Brazil’s supermarkets and is slightly cheaper than UHT milk, because it requires immediate refrigeration, families only purchase one or two liters at a time. Refrigerated fresh milk expires quickly, whether in the US or Brazil, even if the package is unopened. Thus, the marketing of fresh milk with an extended expiration date by this Brazilian company could prove to be an important breakthrough in the food industry.

“We already knew use of our antimicrobial and bactericidal material in rigid or flexible plastic food packaging improves conservation and extends life. So we decided to test it in the polyethylene used to bottle grade A fresh milk. The result was that we more than doubled the product’s life solely by adding the material to the packaging, without mixing any additives with the milk,” said Nanox CEO Luiz Pagotto Simões.

Simões says that the micro-particles are included in the polyethylene preform used to mold the plastic bottles, so there is no risk of them detaching from the packaging and mixing with the milk.

[Research: Redorbit website.]

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