By Jami Marvin, January 2018

Have you ever wondered what really goes into pasteurizing milk? There is so much more to it than anyone ever thinks! We've previously talked about the larger equipment that is required to process milk such as the pasteurizer itself, but there are smaller and equally important pieces as well.

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Some of the smallest but most important things we use are data loggers. They are about the size of a hockey puck but their use is of utmost importance. These little things track and log the temperature of the milk every minute during the pasteurization cycle to ensure the milk is properly processed. Without these, we would not be able to show the milk actually went through the pasteurization process. Each batch of milk that is done has an individual graph with the date, time, and temperatures during the cycle.

Another important piece of equipment is something simple - Thermometers! We use both digital and analog thermometers. There is one of each in each of our freezers. The digital thermometers connect to a cloud and log daily temperatures, the analog thermometers back up the digital. Our walk-in freezer is equipped with thermometers that not only email us daily with a log, they also email us to inform us if the power has gone out in case of emergency. This is extremely important during the stormy season!

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Labels are another extremely important item we must have. Every deposit, batch and bottle must have a label for us to easily identify who the milk belongs to, where it needs to go, when it expires and what the next step might be for it. The labels allow us to stay extremely organized, which is vital to ensuring we are providing safe pasteurized donor human milk.
 

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The last items to think about are the bottles we use. A bottle is a bottle, right? Wrong!  Our bottles come to us pre-sterilized so that we know the milk is going into a safe container. They include foil seals inside the lids, which are adhered using an induction sealer immediately after being filled. The bottles are specific to the pasteurizer we use. They require cages to hold them in place and to keep them submerged in the water. The bottles must be able to withstand the temperatures of the pasteurization process and the freezer as well. Who would have thought so much was required of a simple bottle?

Providing safe pasteurized donor human milk is our number one priority. All of the safety measures we take are to ensure the fragile babies and premature infants are receiving the best option available, aside from their mothers’ own milk. We are always looking for ways to rise above the standards, whether that be implementing new processes or equipment. It’s all important to the end goal. Why do we do it? The answer is simple. We care.

If you’d like to read up on some of our bigger equipment, check out this blog!
https://www.themilkbank.org/blog-2/2017/7/17/the-milk-bank-has-new-pasteurization-equipment