Queensland food technology company, Naturo, claims to have developed a world-first fresh milk processing technology resulting in natural milk staying fresh and safe for human consumption for more than 60 days.
The Coolum-based firm is describing its breakthrough as the most significant innovation for the dairy industry since pasteurisation in 1864.
Naturo Technologies has previously made its mark developing the Natavo Zero process which ensures frozen avocado does not go brown.
The new technology has been approved by Australian regulatory food safety authority, Dairy Food Safety Victoria (DFSV) "as an alternate treatment to pasteurisation for raw milk".
It has also been independently tested and validated by a leading Australian scientific organisation.
Naturo's patented heat-free processing system delivers milk which is 100 per cent natural with no additives or preservatives.
The difference between our milk and pasteurised milk is we don't cook the milk to make it safe for human consumption
The product is described as nutritionally superior to pasteurised or ultra high temperature (UHT) treated milk, retaining its natural colour and taste.
It boasts a minimum 60-day refrigerated shelf life with recent tests showing milk remaining fit for human consumption for more than 90 days, compared to only 14 days for standard fresh pasteurised milk.
The extended life technology is a potential game-changer for Australia's export market as the Naturo process will allow milk to be shipped, rather than flown, to markets such as Japan, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
While the process has been applied to cow's milk only, it has the potential to expand to other milks including camel, goat, sheep's milk and more.
Naturo founder and agricultural engineer, Jeff Hastings, invented the technology.
He has more than 30 years' experience in various global agribusiness fields, having previously developed processing technology for sliced apples for the international market.
More recently he commercialised natural avocado processing technology which ensures 'no-browning' when avocados are cut.
Investment backing wanted
Naturo is now seeking investment funds to build a pilot plant in Australia capable of producing 10 million litres of milk annually.
Naturo's board is chaired by vet, entrepreneur and investor, Dr Glen Richards, the founder of big pet care company, Greencross, and known as an entrepreneurial panelist on television's "Shark Tank".
Mr Hastings said the difference between his company's product and 'regular' milk was it tasted 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 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 72C for at least 15 seconds to make it safe whereas we are able to kill pathogens without relying on heat.
Ours is the only known method that kills Bacillus cereus, a common but unwanted bacterium in milk that produces toxins causing vomiting or diarrhoea
"While pasteurisation via heating the milk makes it safer, it destroys some of the goodness, specifically it kills all alkaline phosphatase activity, an essential enzyme for liver function and bone development, and reduces the Vitamin B2 and B12 levels.
"These are 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.
"Put simply, our technology kills more of the bugs and has a significantly superior shelf life.
"In our most recent independent scientific testing, the milk remained fresh at the conclusion of a 91-day testing period."
Naturo's planned pilot plant will allow the company to establish commercial scale operations for its own brand of products for the domestic and Asian markets.
The company recently received $250,000 in like-for-like funding from the Queensland Government in support of the technology.
Export options expand
"Our milk can be shipped to all parts of the world that have limited or no access to fresh milk," Mr Hastings said.
"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."
Globally the dairy industry is valued at about 585 billion, with milk being the largest category.
Despite Australia accounting for just under 2pc of the world 's milk production with a total 9.3 billion litre production output last year, our industry is one of just a handful producing more milk than can be consumed domestically, leaving significant volumes of milk to be exported.
Additionally, Australia has significant latent milk production capabilities and is one of the only locations on the planet that has the potential to rapidly expand its current milk production particularly in Tasmania and Victoria.
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The story Qld firms claims 90-day fresh milk shelf life breakthrough first appeared on Farm Online.