Cartons of milk on the shelves of our local groceries are covered with different labels and words: pasteurized, non-GMO, non-homogenized. But what do these terms really mean? The different tests and processes milk goes through before you drink it are essential to kill harmful bacteria and make sure that your milk is packed with nutrients.
All milk sold on the shelves of grocery stores has no antibiotics in it. Creameries go through a testing process with each batch of milk that they bottle in order to check for antibiotics. If there are harmful bacteria in the milk, the milk is thrown away before it is bottled. If dairy farms do not follow these strict guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulatory action is taken against the farm, which typically leads to fines.
Once milk has been tested for antibiotics, it goes through the pasteurization process. When pasteurized, milk is heated up and then quickly cooled to eliminate certain strains of bacteria. Milk is typically heated to around 145 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes and then cooled to bottling temperature.
When a cow gives milk it has two parts to it: cream and nonfat milk. When allowed to settle, the two will separate from each other and the cream will rise to the top. In homogenized milk, the cream and milk are balanced out evenly through a mechanical process so that the two don’t separate.
Mt. Crawford produces non-homogenized milk in which the cream and the fat are left to their usual ratios. This means that before you pour a glass of milk, you need to shake the container to mix the milk and cream together. There is much debate over the benefits of non-homogenized versus homogenized milk but ultimately, the decision to choose one over the other falls heavily on taste.