Thanks to advancements made by a Brazilian agribusiness company, you can now keep your milk in the fridge for over two weeks before it goes bubbly, doubling milk’s usual shelf life of about one week, according to a press release from the Sãu Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP).
Agrindus, a company located in São Carlos, Sãu Paulo state, Brazil, achieved this feat by including silver-based microparticles in the plastic bottles used to package milk. Developed by another Sãu Carlos-based company, Nanox, this gives the bottles bactericidal, antimicrobial, and self-sterilizing properties.
"We already knew use of our antimicrobial and bactericidal material in rigid or flexible plastic food packaging improves conservation and extends shelf life. So we decided to test it in the polyethylene used to bottle grade A fresh milk in Brazil. The result was that we more than doubled the product's shelf life solely by adding the material to the packaging, without mixing any additives with the milk,” said Nanox CEO Luiz Pagotto Simões.
Simões added that the microparticles are included as a powder in the polyethylene preform used to mold the plastic bottles, so there is no risk of them detaching from the packaging and mixing with the milk.
While using this material in bottles increases milk’s shelf life from seven to fifteen days, it can be used to similar effect for other kinds of packaging, like flexible plastic.
"In milk bags, the material is capable of extending shelf life from four to ten days," Simões noted.
The company intends to primarily market this product in Europe and the United States. While there’s still a domestic market, Europe and the U.S. consume far more fresh milk, with ultra-high temperature (UHT) pasteurized milk—milk sterilized at high temperatures to kill bacterial spores, giving it a shelf life of around four months at room temperature—being more popular in most parts of Brazil.