Pastuerized milk is perhaps one of the most nutritionally deficient beverages misappropriately labeled as a “perfect food.” Our public health officials even issue advisory warnings to ensure that those with weakened immune systems only consume pasteurized foods. The truth about pasteurization is that it denatures milk. It alters its chemical structure, makes fats rancid, destroys nutrients and ultimately results in the formation of free radicals in the body. New research conducted by the Milk Quality Improvement Program at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have identified the predominant spore-forming bacteria in milk and are casting doubt on current pasteurization techniques.
All cow’s milk (regular and ‘organic’) has 59 active hormones, scores of allergens, fat and cholesterol. Cow milk may also have measurable quantities of herbicides, pesticides, dioxins (up to 200 times the safe levels), up to 52 powerful antibiotics (perhaps 53, with LS-50), blood, pus, feces, bacteria and viruses.
Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishesvitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children,osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.
The primary claim by the food industry: As the world’s population climbs past 7 billion, the sustainable production and distribution of food is balanced against the need to ensure its chemical and microbiological safety. Scientists believe they must irradiate, pasteurize and sterilize all foods to keep the public safe.
“Control of food spoilage is critical in a world that needs to feed 7 billion people,” said Martin Wiedmann, food science professor.
Senior food scientist Toby MacDonald says the only way to protect the population is through current and modified sterilization techniques that will make food safe for all. “Current and modified practices including irradiation and pasteurization are extremely effective in reducing harmful bacteria and pathogens in the food supply,” he proclaimed. MacDonald says that as food demand reaches its climax, proper sterilization will be necessary at all levels. “An increase of 50 percent in food demand by 2030 will require more funding into food monitoring infrastructures so that all food with the potential to produce outbreaks can be properly sterilized to prevent those outbreaks,” he added.
The study, published in the March issue of Applied Environmental Microbiology by the lab of Wiedmann and Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, identified the predominant strains of spore-forming bacteria, which can foul milk and other food products. The culprits, Paenibacillus bacteria, are ubiquitous in nature and cause off-flavors in a variety of foods and curdling in dairy products.
As spores, the bacteria can survive in dormant form for years despite the best practices in cleaning, processing and packaging.
In fact, the bacteria may be uniquely adapted to overcome the twin tactics of dairy protection: pasteurization followed by refrigeration. According to co-author and research support specialist Nicole Martin, the spores are not only resistant to heat, the small jolt of heat during pasteurization may actually stimulate them to germinate. Some can reproduce in refrigerated dairy products at temperatures that would stymy other types of bacteria.
“We studied 1,288 bacterial isolates in raw milk, pasteurized milk and the dairy farm environment; however, only a handful of strains accounted for 80 percent of the spore-formers present,” said Wiedmann. “They grow well in milk — and possibly other foods — at temperatures as low as 43 F, and we can identify Paenibacillus because of their uniquely high galactosidase enzyme activity at 32 C.”
They also investigated how pasteurization affects the presence of such bacteria.
Concerns about food safety have prompted many dairy processors to increase pasteurization temperatures above the 161 F minimum set by the government. Anecdotal reports, however, suggested this practice actually led to more spoilage once the products were refrigerated.
Tallying bacterial numbers throughout the refrigerated shelf life of milk pasteurized at two different temperatures — 169 F and 175 F — the Wiedmann-Boor lab found that lowering the temperature significantly reduced bacterial growth during refrigerated storage, especially by 21 days after pasteurization.
Calves fed pasteurized milk do poorly and many die before maturity. Raw milk sours naturally but pasteurized milk turns putrid; processors must remove slime and pus from pasteurized milk by a process of centrifugal clarification. Inspection of dairy herds for disease is not required for pasteurized milk.Pasteurization was instituted in the 1920s to combat TB, infant diarrhea, undulant fever and other diseases caused by poor animal nutrition and dirty production methods.But times have changed and modern stainless steel tanks, milking machines, refrigerated trucks and inspection methods make pasteurization absolutely unnecessary for public protection.
And pasteurization does not always kill the bacteria for Johne’s disease suspected of causing Crohn’s disease in humans with which most confinement cows are infected. Much commercial milk is now ultra-pasteurized to get rid of heat-resistant bacteria and give it a longer shelf life. Ultra-pasteurization is a violent process that takes milk from a chilled temperature to above the boiling point in less than two seconds.
One of the possible methods of pasteurization uses propylene oxide, a highly flammable and “highly toxic” chemical used in thermobaric weapons. Foods treated with the chemical are banned in some countries, including Canada and Mexico, as well as the European Union.
Natasha Longo has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.