Reason why milk is safe; Family Life FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY.

Byline: Ask Sam

Q What is the difference between pasteurised and UHT milk?

A Most milk we buy in the UK is pasteurised. Milk is pasteurised by heating it, usually to 71.7C for 15 seconds. This gets rid of any food poisoning bacteria in the milk and reduces the bacteria that make milk go off. So pasteurising milk makes it safer to drink and makes it last longer.

UHT stands for "ultra heat treated". UHT milk, also called long-life milk, has been heated to at least 135C for at least one second. This destroys all bacteria in the milk and makes it last much longer than ordinary pasteurised milk. UHT tastes different from other milk because of the high temperatures used when it's treated. You can buy unpasteurised milk. Because it hasn't been heat-treated, unpasteurised milk can contain bacteria that could cause food poisoning. Young children, elderly people, pregnant women and people who are ill should avoid unpasteurised milk.

Sam Montel is the Food Standards Agency's online nutrition expert and a registered public health nutritionist. She will be answering a different question about healthy eating every week. To find out more about food, visit the Food Standards Agency's website at

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