Pasteurization, a process discovered by Louis Pasteur (while trying to inactivate spoilage organisms in beer and wine), occurs when a product is heated to a specific temperature for a specified length of time. This process is now applied to a wide array of food products, such as milk, fruit juice, cheese, and water. Milk is heated to 145°F (63°C) for thirty minutes (or to 160°F [71°C] for fifteen seconds) and then rapidly cooled to 50°F (10°C) for storage. In developing countries, heating water to 149°F (65°C) for six minutes will kill enough contaminates to make the water safe to drink. Pasteurization protects consumers from harmful pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Coxiella Burnetii in milk, and pasteurized products benefit from longer shelf life.

Diane L. Golzynski