According to Naturo Founder and CEO Jeff Hastings, Naturo will be launching a range of nutrient-rich milk products with high digestibility and long shelf-life in March to April this year under the Wholey Milk Company brand.
“We will start with select retail outlets in Queensland first before expanding production and supply nationally, and then internationally in 2022,” Hastings told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“The first initial products will be cow’s milk only, but there is definitely potential for our [milk processing technology Haelen] to be applied to other types of milks and also contribute to value-added dairy products [such as yoghurt], and in industries where unpasteurised milk is desired such as cheese.”
According to Hastings, the Haelen technology is a completely natural fresh milk processing method which can ‘preserve the taste and nutrients of milk that are otherwise compromised by traditional pasteurisation’.
“[Haelen] is the biggest breakthrough in the global milk industry since pasteurisation in 1864,” he said.
“[In addition to preserving taste and nutrient content], it also kills more potentially harmful pathogens and increases shelf life – Haelen is the only known method to kill Bacillus cerues which is commonly found in milk and can cause vomiting or diarrhoea.
“Nothing else, no preservatives, additives, chemicals, etc. is added to the milk at all.”
One of the most significant benefits that Wholey Milk products are expected to provide is higher digestibility, which is done by retaining enzymes needed for milk digestion.
“Pasteurisation heats milk to at least 72°C or at least 15 seconds to make it safe, [which] destroys some of milk’s benefits, such as killing all alkaline phosphatase (an essential enzyme for liver function and bone development) and reducing Vitamin B2 and B12 levels,” said Hastings.
“Haelen is a gentle method, able to kill pathogens without relying on heat, [which] allows milk to retain higher levels of important vitamins, proteins and enzymes that otherwise get destroyed or denatured through pasteurisation, so the retention of some of these key enzymes can lead to easier digestion as compared to pasteurised milk.”
Longer shelf life, further expansion
The Wholey Milk Company’s fresh milk products are also expected to have another advantage in the form of long shelf life – at least four times as long as that of regular pasteurised milk.
“Our milk has a minimum of 60 days shelf life when refrigerated, compared to just 14 days for pasteurised milk – [which is significant in terms of reaching] export markets,” said Hastings.
“This will allow milk to be shipped, rather than flown, to markets all over the world including Japan, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, [and even reach] parts of the world that have limited or no access to fresh milk.
“The milk will remain fresh for at least 21 days once opened if refrigerated.”
Hastings also stressed that although the shelf life of the milk is much longer, it is not to be confused with long life milk which is usually produced using Ultra Heat Treatment (UHT) where it is heated to around 140°C for two seconds.
“Both long life milk and pasteurised milk are heated at extreme temperatures which reduce the nutritional value of the fresh milk whilst lengthening its shelf life – our milk is nutritionally superior and uses pressure rather than heat to kill pathogens, [so no, it is not the same as long life milk],” he said.
Haelen has been accepted as an ‘alternative treatment to pasteurisation for raw milk’ by Dairy Food Safety Victoria (DFSV), and the technology has also received financial support from both the Queensland state government (A$250,000 / US$190,400) and Australian Federal Government (A$1mn / US$761,700).