World first: Fresh milk that lasts 60 days
FRESH milk that lasts over 60 days has been achieved by a Queensland company through a world-first process set to revolutionise the dairy industry.
The stunning breakthrough will create massive export opportunities in Asia, with the long-shelf-life product able to be shipped and sold to a huge new market.
Presently only a small quantity of standard Australian milk, which perishes after 14 days, is air freighted to countries including China and Japan, where it can cost the equivalent of $12-13 a litre.
Sunshine Coast-based food technology company Naturo Pty Ltd is behind the new approved technology and has secured patents with world protection.
The processing innovation has been independently tested and validated by a leading Australian scientific organisation and industry regulator, Dairy Food Safety Victoria, has approved the process as a safe and healthy alternative to pasteurisation.
This found it was able to kill the bacterium that can make untreated milk harmful to people and keep the refrigerated product fresh for an amazing 91 days.
The global dairy industry is worth $US413 billion ($A585 billion), with milk being the largest category.
Australia is one of only a handful of countries that produces more milk than can be consumed domestically, leaving significant volumes to be exported.
Naturo, which has received $250,000 in funding from the State Government, is currently seeking investment for a pilot plant capable of producing 10 million litres of milk per annum using the new method.
It is looking at site options in Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria and the plant, which initially would employ up 32 full-time workers, would allow the company to establish its own brand of products. The next phase of its strategy would see production increase tenfold in coming years.
Naturo says its method is a game-changer and the opening of new markets for Australia's fresh milk will provide "a healthy return" for farmers in an industry that has experienced significant struggles.
Naturo Founder and CEO, Jeff Hastings, based at Coolum, is the inventor of the technology and a qualified agricultural engineer with more than 30 years' experience in global agribusiness.
He has previously developed processing technology for sliced apples for the international market and, more recently, commercialised processing technology that produces "no-browning" cut avocado.
Naturo is backed by an impressive board and management which includes Dr Glen Richards of Shark Tank TV fame.
Mr Hastings said his company's milk breakthrough was the most significant innovation in the dairy industry since pasteurisation in 1864.
"Our milk tastes like milk straight from the cow. It is safer, better for you and lasts longer," he said.
"The primary difference between our milk and pasteurised milk is the fact that we don't 'cook" the milk to make it safe for human consumption. Our milk is much closer to milk in its original state and is independently proven to be nutritionally superior.
"Pasteurisation heats milk to a minimum of 72°C for at least 15 seconds to make it safe whereas we are able to kill pathogens without relying on heat."
Mr Hastings said that another issue with pasteurised milk was that while heating made it safer, it destroyed some of the goodness, specifically it killed all alkaline phosphatase activity, an essential enzyme for liver function and bone development, and reduced the Vitamin B2 and B12 levels. These were particularly essential vitamins for children.
"Our patented process is the only known method that kills Bacillus cereus, a common but unwanted spore forming bacterium in milk that produces toxins causing vomiting or diarrhoea. Our process makes our milk really safe," he said.
"Put simply, our technology kills more of the bugs and has a significantly superior shelf life. In fact, in our most recent independent scientific testing, the milk remained fresh and fit for human consumption at the conclusion of a 91-day testing period when compared to only 14 days for standard fresh pasteurised milk.
"Our milk can be shipped to all parts of the world that have limited or no access to fresh milk. There is also massive potential for the development of a wide range of dairy products and use by industries where unpasteurised milk is desired, such as cheese making."
More details: www.naturotechnologies.com/milk