As kids, we all heard phrases like “drink your milk and you will grow big and strong”. However, few of us simply rolled eyes and never finished our milk.
But the truth is that milk does provide essential nutrients that everyone needs in their development particularly kids.
The consumption of the purest milk is the basic right of every child and adult. The milk needs to be healthy, aesthetically pleasant and free from any preservatives.
Tetra Pack Milk in Pakistan
There are numbers of packaged milk brands available across the country. Whether you splash it on your breakfast cereals, put it in your tea or consume it solely, we have increased the consumption of packaged milk.
In 2016, Punjab Food Authority claimed that several highly regarded tetra pack companies including Haleeb, Olpers were harmful for human consumption.
So Howmuch.pk decided to dig in further to reveal the actual facts behind the tetra pack milk.
All leading packaged milk in Pakistan is UHT (Ultra Heat treatment). This means that the milk is treated at a very high temperature (135 degree Celsius) for a few seconds and then cooling it down.
Why is Ultra Heat Treatment used?
Many food products that we consume, contain harmful pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) which in a worst case, can cause fatal diseases.
The packaged milk companies claim that the milk contains no such germs and enhance the longer shelf life and taste.
The most worrisome part is that during UHT process, the nutritional value of milk is lost. True, the bacterias are killed, but we need to realize that not every kind of bacteria is bad for us. The UHT process kills the good ones too.
So, the milk we buy has an artificial flavor and smell added to it. The milk is then homogenized to keep milk and water mixed. To conclude, the packaged milk that we often consume is treated liquid and sold as a milk.
Issues with Ultra Heat Treatment
The high temperature changes the uniformity of milk. The effectiveness of amino acid, vitamins C and B12 are shattered which is equally essential for human’s body growth.
Not just that, the presence of calcium, magnesium and other several ingredients are also affected during the heating process.
The other problem in consuming a packaged milk is that it affects the natural enzymes in milk. Deficiency of these enzymes such as calcium, which is essential in the development of bones, can lead to several diseases mainly osteoporosis.
The alternative of Tetra Pack milk
Raw Milk is that milk which is free from any kind of treatment. Neither it is given UHT nor pasteurized. But it contains harmful bacteria and that’s the main concern of the consumers.
The biggest issue is not the milk itself but the process of milking. These unhygienic milking methods can lead to TB, and diarrhea in infants. Boiling raw milk is necessary to get rid of harmful bacterias.
Pasteurized Milk is also heated but the temperature used is broadly lower than the UHT temperature. The pasteurization milk is heated to 72 C for 15 seconds and UHT milk is heated to 141 C for 4 seconds.
The purpose of pasteurization is to remove the harmful bacteria. The heating process is called high-temperature short time (HTST). The nutritional value and essential enzymes do get affected but it is considered to be a better option than the tetra pack milk.
Also, the pasteurized milk has no added stabilizers or nutrients, for instance, soy milk etc.
Which milk is safe in Pakistan?
Safe Milk Brands
Last year, the only pasteurized milk declared safe for consumption was Prema. And, Olpers, Nestle Milk Pack, Day Fresh, Good Milk and Nurpur Original was safe and healthy in UHT category.
Unsafe Milk Brands
In UHT milk category, Haleeb Full Cream was declared unsafe whereas, in a pasteurized category, Anhaar, Adams Milk, Nurpur Milk, Nutrivo, Gourmet, Achaa Milk, Daily Dairy, Doce Milk and Al-Fajar Milk were failed to get a clean chit.
What is the best option?
Unfortunately, every available option has some pros and cons. Although milk is the basic requirement for food and everyone has a right to a safe and healthy milk.
The few advantages of tetra pack milk are that it has a longer shelf life and its bacteria free. On the other hand, it is not the ‘pure’ milk and causes digestive problems.
Whereas, Pasteurize milk is a better option than tetra Pack because it has no additives and purer than its counterpart. However, it has low shelf life i.e 4-6 days and is expensive than the other milk.
Overall, the raw milk is the purest form of available milk in the market. It is considered to be safe to consume within 24 hours and it must be boiled before storing. However, the milking process is what makes this milk questionable.
In a Nutshell
It is only a matter of seeking proper management and distributor of fresh milk. So all we need to do is to become smart consumers and look around and to find safe and healthy milk suppliers for milk consumption.