Every milk package has numbers on the bottom. These numbers aren’t just randomly there, but they have a meaning. Most of the people do not know what these numbers mean. Hence, the next time you buy milk, take a look at these numbers.
The numbers on the bottom of each package have a dual meaning. You will see that there are numbers from 1 to 5, or in some countries from 1 to 6. These numbers show how many times the milk has been recycled or reprocessed.
The Meaning of Package Numbers
Legally, the milk can be reprocessed again at 190 °C. This process is allowed in some countries on the condition that the manufacturers print the exact number of times they have repeated this process. This process is done whenever the milk approaches its due date. Hence, it is reheated again and this kills the bacteria, which can cause it to go bad. After this process, the milk will last for some time.
When checking the printed numbers, you should see which number is missing. Therefore, if the number 3 is missing, and you see something like 12456, it means that the milk`s date of usage has expired 3 times or the milk has been re-pasteurized 3 times.
However, there are some milk packages which do not follow this rule. Instead, they print only one number on the package. This number also shows the number of reprocessing.
There are some rumors that indicate that these numbers show the number of times the carton has been recycled. Whichever the meaning of these numbers, we consider that it is important to know more about ultra-pasteurization of milk.
This process is done by pasteurizing milk at a high temperature to preserve the taste and nutrition. This process isn’t only used for milk, but also for cream, fruit juices, wine, soups, and broth. The milk or the other products which are processed at ultra-high temperature are exposed to brief, intense heating for 3 seconds. Moreover, by using this process the milk is safe from being contaminated by airborne micro-organisms. After this process, the milk is put into a sterile Tetra Pak shelf safe carton. The milk lasts up to 6 months.