Pasteurized food is consumed by most people because of its good taste and flavor. If you are interested to know the history of pasteurization process or concerned about its effects then this article is for you.

The process in which food or liquid like juices and milk are heated to a particular temperature to kill harmful microbes is called pasteurization. These microorganisms include bacteria, molds, and viruses that are harmful to individuals' health. It is also ensured during pasteurization to preserve the quality of the product.


History of pasteurization:

French microbiologist Louis Pasteur developed the process in the 19th century. 

Before the research work of Pasteur, people did not have any knowledge about the cause of disease and their link to microbes. In mid-1800 the concern about the safety of food products and milk was starting to develop.  In that era, people assumed that there was there may be a link between consuming contaminated milk and the outbreak of many diseases including tuberculosis. 

Pasteur at that time demonstrated many experiments in which he heated the milk to a specific temperature limit. He found that this caused the destruction of the dangerous bacteria in the milk and during this nutritional value of milk was also maintained. He published the findings of his experiment in 1862 and proposed this process. 


Initially, people applied the process to produce wine. In that era spoilage and deterioration of wine was a great problem in France. Then this process was extended to apply to the milk industry. Because contaminated milk consumption was the most significant source of illness.

Nowadays the use of the pasteurization process is most prominent in the food industry. It is used to secure a variety of food products like cheese, fruit juices, milk, and canned food. This process is playing a vital role in public health improvement. The shelf life of many food items has also been increased by this process.

Types of pasteurization:

There are two main types of pasteurization based on the use of techniques.

1. High-temperature short-term (HTST) pasteurization

In this type, food or liquid items are heated to 72 degree Celsius temperature for 15 seconds.

2. Low-temperature long-term (LTLT) pasteurization

In this type, liquid or food products are heated to 63 degree Celsius temperature for 30 seconds.

Pasteurized food | good or bad

Generally, pasteurization is taken as a good thing because it enhances the safety of food and helps to decrease the danger of foodborne illness. However, some people have the view that it may decrease the taste or nutritional value of food items. But it is true that there are more benefits of pasteurization than any types of assumed drawbacks.

 It is an effective way to make food secure and has been employed for more than a century.  Now many modern techniques of pasteurization are available which eliminate any danger of wastage of nutrients from the food.  These methods do not employ heat to kill the harmful microbes. 

Benefits of the pasteurization process:

There are many advantages of this food preservation process due to which it is beingly extensively used in many food industries.

1. Increasing food safety:

One of the significant aspects of the pasteurization process is that it alleviates the danger due to foodborne diseases.  It makes beverages and other food items safer for use. People use pasteurized products with more ease and surety of safety than unpasteurized food products.

2. Extending shelf life by pasteurization: 

The shelf life of a variety of food items can be extended by the using the process. In this way, food can be stored and transported easily for a longer duration of time. It prevents the deterioration of food for a longer time.

3. Preserving the nutrients:

Although it is a concern that traditional methods to pasteurize the food items may lead to destroy some nutrients in the food. These include some enzymes and vitamins present in the food items. But modern nonthermal pasteurization methods help to preserve nutrients. Milk preservation using this process, calcium, and protein contents remained safe.

4. Improving the flavor of food: 

The flavor of many food products and beverages enriches after these are pasteurized. This process eliminates the harmful bacteria in the food that lead to food spoilage. In this way, it maintains the flavor and aroma of a variety of food items. In addition, different types of nice desired flavors can be added during the application of this method.

Harmful Effects of Pasteurization:

Although there are many advantages of pasteurization that are increasing day by day there is also concern about some drawbacks of this process. 

1. Loss of nutrients by pasteurization:

As in the traditional method to pasteurize food, heat is involved. High heat leads to the destruction of certain nutrients in the food and thus some vitamins and minerals. When milk is subjected to this process, it loses about 50 percent of vitamin C content. This is an aspect of great concern.

2. Changing the texture and taste of food:

Pasteurization can also result in alteration in the texture and flavor of the food products. It is noticed that orange juice after being pasteurized loses its freshness and seems to have less taste than unpasteurized juice.

3. Killing beneficial bacteria:

Pasteurization not only eliminates harmful microbes and bacteria but also can destroy useful bacteria in the food.  Fermented food like yogurt has advantageous bacteria that are good for the health of the gut. When these beneficial bacteria are killed by during this process, the health benefits of such food items lessen.

4. Environmental concern:

In the process of pasteurization, high energy is required that have a negative effect on the environment. Waste products resulting from pasteurization also lead to concern about the environment. More research is needed to combat these drawbacks of pasteurized products in order to use it safely.

Common Pasteurized products:

These are the most commonly used products that are produced or secured by the application of the Louis Pasteur method:

    • Milk
    • Cheese
    • Yogurt
    • Cream
    • Butter
    • Ice cream
    • Ice
    • Beer
    • Wine
    • Canned foods
    • Condensed milk
    • Evaporated milk
    • Baby food
    • Egg products
    • Honey (traditional pasteurization is not employed to preserve it but to secure it from the risk of botulism)

                                Nowadays most food and beverages are available in pasteurized form. Consumption of unpasteurized food products can lead to severe foodborne illness.