Types of Milk

Almost all milk in the United States is pasteurized to kill any bacteria that could potentially make us sick. There are several types of pasteurization processes, but one in particular provides one of the best solutions to keeping fluid milk in the food banks and pantries. It’s called UHT, or Ultra-High Temperature, or shelf-stable. Food banks and pantries like it because it doesn’t need to be refrigerated while stored, and refrigeration is sometimes lacking. All milk needs to be refrigerated after it is opened.


  • Heated to at least 161°F for a minimum of 15 seconds or 145°F for 30 minutes
  • Pasteurized milk must be refrigerated at all times
  • Most milk found in grocery stores falls under this category


  • Heated to a minimum of 280°F for a minimum 2 seconds
  • Must be refrigerated, but sell-by date is 30-90 days out
  • Good option for food banks and pantries due to the extended sell-by date

UHT/Shelf Stable

  • Heated for a minimum of 2 seconds to 280°F
  • Packaged under sterilized conditions
  • Shelf life of more than 6 months
  • Also called shelf stabled milk because it does not need refrigeration until opened.

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