"Nutritional and shelf stable milk by novel microwave processing"
Micro Milk is a partnership of European SME's that has identified a promising low energy, time efficient and easy to clean microwave milk processing system that can improve nutritional value and taste of milk and milk products due to shorter heating times required to reach the holding temperatures during heating. Microwave heating will enhance the advantages of UHT (Ultra High Temperature) milk by improving the nutritional and organoleptic quality, comparable to "fresh" HTST (High Temperature Short Time) pasteurised and ESL (Extended shelf life) conventionally-treated milks. The novel system will also increase the shelf life of microwave-treated HTST and ESL milks by reducing the risk of contamination via equipment. Currently most used technology is heating by plate heat exchangers, which requires a cleaning in place system to be used quite often because of milk layers burning at the surfaces of the equipments, leading to increased shut down time. The milk industry aims at reducing the cleaning time of milk processing plants to increase the production time.
Therefore, one of the major advantages of the MicroMilk system is the rapid achievement of retention temperature by direct interaction of milk with microwaves; resulting in easier cleanability with subsequent reduction of cleaning time and the minimisation of contamination sources via equipment.
Within the first phase (Project MicroMilk) the proof of principle for the technology was successfully done. In September 2013 a second project (Project MicroMilk-Demo) started with the objective to demonstrate the former developed technology for longer periods in industrial applications. For more details see project descriptions.