CITY PULSE ‘An army of people toil relentlessly to maintain the perfect cold chain’

Making the milk you consume safe with extended shelf-life is the key motive of a milk-processing factory and not many know how many sleepless nights, the dedicated set of people have to spend, to maintain the perfect cold chain for maintaining the quality.

For you to have ‘Fresh’ milk for the morning cup of coffee, an army of people toil relentlessly from a little past midnight to ensure there is no bacteria in the sachet of milk you buy from your vendor or get it at your door-step. At 3.30 a.m. the farmer gets up to milk the buffalo/cow and delivers the ‘Whole Milk’ at the Bulk Milk Cooling Unit (BMCU) where the Milk Cooperative Union/private company collects from producers.

A state-wide enterprise of co-operatives for dairy development, the Andhra Pradesh Dairy Development Co-operative Federation (APDDCF), has a milk processing unit at Kankipadu on the city outskirts. It serves part of city needs along with the processing units of eight private dairies and Krishna Milk Producers’ Mutually Aided Cooperative Union.

From the Bulk Milk Chilling Units in villages around the city, the chilled tankers of APDDCF bring milk to the processing unit within one hour at a temperature below 5 degrees Celcius. A hose from the tanker empties milk into a container after passing through a pasteurization machine where it is heated to 75 degrees Centigrade for 15 seconds and immediately cooled to 4 Deg. C.

The APDDCF Ltd. Deputy General Manager K. Nageswara Rao told The Hindu that this process is called ‘Flash Pasteurization’ – where packaging is done after heating and cooling the white liquid in a flash so that it can be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration.

The process

Milk then travels to a cream separator where the entire fat content of about 8.5 per cent to 8.8 per cent that comes from farmers is separated and skimmed milk is stored in a container for creating different variants of milk like whole milk – gold – 6.5 p.c. fat and 9 p.c. Solid Not Fat (SNF); whole milk – 6 p.c. fat 9 SNF; single toned milk 4.5 p.c. fat and 8.5 SNF; toned milk 3 p.c. fat and 8.5 SNF; and double toned milk 1.5 p.c. fat and 9 SNF.

These variants are prepared based on choices of people depending on their taste and health consciousness by introducing required amount of fat and SNF before packing from a bulk container.

Processing is done in the most hygienic conditions with entire plant made of stainless steel and not a trace of fly or mosquito seen anywhere. Automated machines ensure you get the right weight and quantity/quality of milk with date and time of packing printed on them. Before the crates of milk are shipped to your vendor, they are stored at 4 degrees C in a cold godown.