There are so many things that we do differently around the world – different cultures, different customs, different preferences, and yes, different foods.

What we might not have realized before it was so easy to connect with people from any and everywhere, though, is that there are also differences as far as how we approach food storage and safety – which is kind of weird, right? If milk needs to be in the refrigerator in the States, why would it be okay on a room-temperature shelf in Switzerland?

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It turns out that the difference in how we store milk is because of the difference in the way we pasteurize milk.

In the States and in Canada, milk manufacturers use  high-temperature short-time pasteurization (HTST), an efficient method that allows for the killing of bacteria in large batches. The downside, though, is that the results expire quickly – between 7-10 days.

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America’s dairy farmers need to know we need them more than ever right now. It pains me to hear stories of them having to dump their product because schools and restaurants are not buying their milk and keeping up with the demand. When I lived overseas shelf stable milk was quite common and affordable. Wouldn’t you all love milk that sat in the shelf and tasted identical to what you drink in the refrigerator section?? And I’m pretty sure you are all in the same boat as me and can’t find butter on the shelves. The farmers are dumping milk that could be used for shelf stable milk, butter and powdered milk. I think everyone has read Anne Frank’s Diary and remembers how much she longed for butter when she was in hiding. She claimed she missed it more than anything else. I guess the world has read it because it’s not on the shelves. Is it made in shelf stable form other than powdered form? Can we work on that?Let’s work on amping up production on these things and help our farmers. Let’s change and get more of this on our shelves. #nomoredumping #butter #shelfstablemilk #powderedmilk #shelfstablebutter #annefranksdiary #missingbutter #nobutter #americandairy #americandairyassociation #americanfarmers #dairy-farming #dairyfarmer #fda #change #usda #goodwest #uht #uhtmilk

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This is because although the method kills most bacteria, some will inevitably hang around and start to multiply the longer the milk is exposed to oxygen.

In Europe and other parts of the world, manufacturers prefer a technique called ultra-heat-treated pasteurization (UHT), which kills virtually all bacteria and resulting in milk that is shelf-stable for around 6 months unopened.

You do have to refrigerate it once it is open, and because it’s exposed to such high heats, it has less sugar (and a slightly different taste).

So there you go – now you know!

Don’t freak out the next time you visit Europe and see milk sitting on the shelves – all is well!