Companies try to market no-spoil milk in the U.S.
From Correspondent Elizabeth Schwartz
ATLANTA (CNN) -- Straight from the farm to your grocer's
shelf -- where it can sit for up to six months. This milk
won't go bad. It's called shelf-stable or long-life milk, and
it doesn't go into the refrigerator until after it's opened.
Seven out of 10 European milk drinkers choose it over
regular milk, but shelf-stable milk is relatively new to the
United States. And some consumers find it a little strange.
Producers of shelf-stable milk say consumers have nothing to
worry about because their product is fresh.
Roger Peroni, an executive at Parmalat, the world's largest
producer of shelf-stable milk, says Americans just don't get
"They think it must be impossible, it must be an additive, it
must be something inside, how can it stay all of a sudden
with no refrigeration?" Peroni said.
There is no irradiation or chemicals in shelf-stable milk,
and there is only one simple difference with refrigerated
milk. When refrigerated milk is pasteurized, it is heated to
170 degrees Fahrenheit to kill bacteria. Shelf-stable milk,
on the other hand, is heated to 284 degrees, killing even
more of the bacteria that cause milk to spoil.
Although shelf-stable milk is good for several months
unopened, once you open it, it becomes just like regular
milk. It goes right into the refrigerator, where it is good
for about 10 days.
Shelf-stable milk comes in different varieties like
chocolate, skim, even milkshakes. Nutritionally, it's about
the same as refrigerated milk, but how does it taste?
Amstell Beverages, the makers of Smart Milk, say shelf-stable
milk used to have a slightly burnt flavor because of the high
pasteurizing temperature, but the company says new technology
has made shelf-stable milk taste the same as refrigerated
"There is no taste difference in our process because we use a
piece of equipment that minimizes any cook off or burn off,"
said James Stellmach of Amstell Beverages.
Milk producers say the trick to changing American minds about
shelf-stable milk is to find the right marketing campaign.
Then, maybe Americans, like Europeans, will start buying milk
in six-packs off the shelf.