Milk is collected from farms and transported to the processing plants. Upon arrival, milk is tested for a variety of things, including texture, smell, composition, and hygienic quality. Milk is then cooled and stored until it can be processed.
Milk is decontaminated using one of a number of heat treatments, including thermisation, pasteurization, sterilization, and ultra heat treatment. Milk can be processed into standardized whole, semi-skimmed, or skimmed milk. The fat content in whole milk and semi-skimmed milk is standardized by separating the milk into the skim and cream, and then blending the skim and cream together in specified proportions until the desired composition is achieved. Skim milk results when whole milk is introduced into a centrifugal separator which separates the light fatty phase from the denser non-fat phase. The milk is then homogenized, reducing the size of fat globules before cooling and packaging.
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Source: Overview Text from http://www.sentech.org/CHP4foodprocessing/dairy.htm#fluidmilk 4/2007; milk photo from http://www.goodness.co.uk/milkfree.shtml 5/2007;