Technological advances in refrigeration and food preservation have made an abundance of products readily available the likes of which people never would have dreamed of hundreds of years ago. One of the most important innovations, especially for the dairy industry, has been pasteurization. This process, which was developed by Louis Pasteur in the mid-19th century, is what allows us to have access to a variety of fresh, safe dairy products.
Pasteurization doesn’t destroy all of the pathogenic organisms in a substance, but rather reduces the number so that it is less likely to cause disease. Pasteur and his colleague, Claude Bernard, originally developed the process for use in wine and beer, but today it is most notable in milk. The process is quite simple: the product is simply heated to a certain level for a specific amount of time, which kills many of the antigens and increases its shelf life.