Definition of Pasteurization

Pasteurization: A method of treating food by heating it to a certain point to kill pathogenic (disease-causing) organisms but not harm the flavor or quality of the food. Milk is pasteurized by heating it to about 145°F (63°C) for 30 minutes or, using the "flash" method, by heating it to 160°F (71°C) for 15 seconds, followed by rapid cooling to below 50°F (10°C), at which temperature it is stored. Pasteurization is also used with beer, wine, fruit juices, cheese and egg products. Fresh-squeezed unpasteurized fruit juices are a potential hazard, as some E. coli outbreaks have sadly shown.

Named for the French chemist and biologist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) who invented pasteurization, developed the germ theory, founded the field of bacteriology and created the first vaccines against anthrax and rabies. Pasteur's impact upon medicine was so profound that his name remains attached, not only to pasteurization but also to many other matters (the Pasteur effect; pasteurella; pasteurellaceae; pasteurellaceae infections; pasteurella haemolytica; pasteurella infections; pasteurella multocida; pasteurellosis, pneumonic; pasteurism; etc)


Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2013

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