Monday, 18 June 2012

Milk in Japan

In the Supermarket yesterday I noticed some hippy milk and looked at the label to see what was so different about it. I'm always on the lookout for raw milk because it's so much better for you. I could find it in Scandinavia and it tasted great. Japan has so many different milk brands its hard to keep track, milk in Japan tastes like milk in France. I remember my memory of France was that the milk tasted wrong. Milk in the UK is so much more tastier. They are both pasteurised though, so what is the difference?

Definition of pasteurisation
Heating stuff to kill germs.

Types of milk I've found in Japan
UHT  pasturised - 130°C  for 1second (UHT = Ultra-high temperature)
HTST pasturised - 72°C  for 15seconds (HTST = High-Temperature, Short-Time)
LTLT pasturised  63°C  for 30 min (LTLT = Low temperature Long Time)

Pasteurisation: This is a comparatively low order of heat treatment, which must be sufficient to destroy all pathogenic bacteria. Pasteurization may be defined as: "Any heat treatment of milk which secures the certain destruction of tuberculosis bacteria without markedly affecting the physical and chemical properties." The term pasteurization was coined to honor the French physician, Louis Pasteur, who in the middle of the 19th century made his fundamental studies of the lethal effect of heat on microorganisms and the use of heat treatment as a preservation technique. Pasteurized products remain perishable and should be treated as such.

LTLT Pasteurization: This method is called the holder method or the low-temperature-long-time method. This is a typical batch method where a quantity of milk is placed in an open vat and heated to 63°C and held at that temperature for 30 min. Sometimes filled and sealed bottles of milk are heat-treated in shallow vats by that method and subsequently cooled by running water. Those posh little 180ml bottles they sell in Japanese department stores are this kind of milk. It tastes like milk in the UK - much tastier.

HTST Pasteurization: The term is an abbreviation of high-temperature-short-time. The HTST process for milk involves heating it to 72-75°C with a holding time of 15-20 seconds before it is cooled. Depending upon the quality of the raw milk and the degree of refrigeration, the shelf life may be from 2 days to 16 days.

Ultra Pasteurization. Not to be confused with UHT (see next). Ultra pasteurization is a process to increase the shelf life beyond what is traditionally expected. Heating milk to 125-138°C for 2 - 4 seconds and cooling it to below 7°C is the basis for the longer shelf life. However, the product is not sterile and will eventually spoil.

UHT Treatment. UHT is the abbreviation for treatment by ultra high temperature. In this method, milk is exposed to a brief, intense heating, normally to temperatures in the range 135-140 °C but for a very short time, a second or less. The treatment kills all microorganisms that would otherwise spoil the product. The process depends upon a fairly complicatedsterilizer/aseptic filling design. The two stages of effective heat sterilization followed by aseptic filling represent an integral system. Frequently the packaging material for UHT milk is cardboard which must be chemically sterilized prior to the filling operation.

Japanese Milk Laws
Raw milk is common all over Asia and is legal in Japan. (Not like Canada where all milk has to be pasteurised). There's only one dairy that does it though: "Omoiyari Dairy".

So I reckon that LTLT (低温殺菌牛乳(ていおんさっきんぎゅうにゅう) teion sakkin gyuunyuu) is the one to buy because it's heated to a lower temperature and will retain the most beneficial bacteria, enzymes and antimicrobial properties.
It's also cheaper than shipping in raw milk from Hokkaido, and they sell it in 1L & 500ml cartons in Azabu Juuban.
These guys do a non-homo milk too, but its HTST.
They sell both types in Nissin, Azabu Juuban.

***2012/06/21 UPDATE***

I found "non-homogenised milk" in Hiroo. What is that about?

Milk often is homogenized, a treatment that prevents a cream layer from separating out of the milk. The milk is pumped at high pressures through very narrow tubes, breaking up the fat globules through turbulence and cavitation. 

Creamline (or cream-top) milk is unhomogenized. It is creamier and smoother than regular milk.

Homogenisation is the process where they mix milks from lots of different farms to average out the colour and flavour (because naturally there's a variation in colour and flavour, and consumers - boring as they are - prefer a reliable, familiar product), and they process it to make sure that the cream is thoroughly mixed into the milk. With non-homogenised milk, there's more variation in colour and flavour, and the cream often floats to the top of the bottle to form a clump.

Robert Cohen, Executive Director of the Dairy Education Board, wrote in his article "Homogenized Milk: Rocket Fuel for Cancer," accessed Nov. 28, 2007 on

"Homogenization is the worst thing that dairymen did to milk. Simple proteins rarely survive digestion in a balanced world.
Milk is a hormonal delivery system. With homogenization, milk becomes a very powerful and efficient way of bypassing normal digestive processes and delivering steroid and protein hormones to the human body (both your hormones and the cow's natural hormones and the ones they were injected with to produce more milk).
Through homogenization, fat molecules in milk become smaller and become 'capsules' for substances that bypass digestion. Proteins that would normally be digested in the stomach or gut are not broken down, and are absorbed into the bloodstream...

Homogenized milk, with its added hormones, is rocket fuel for cancer."

Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD, Associate Professor at Capital University of Integrative Medicine, wrote in his 2001 book, Optimal Nutrition for Optimal Health: The Real Truth About Eating Right for Weight Loss, Detoxification, Low Cholesterol, Better Digestion, and Overall Well-Being:

"So what's the harm in homogenization? Cow's milk contains an enzyme of large molecular size called xanthine oxidase (XO). XO is normally attached to the fat globules in milk. However, when these fat globules are in their natural large-sized state prior to homogenization, they are not easily absorbed by the gut wall. After homogenization, the milk fat is easily absorbed, and the attached XO gains much greater access to the bloodstream. 

Some researchers [such as Dr. Kurt Oster and Dr. Donald Ross]have asserted that XO, after getting into the bloodstream, directly promotes hardening of the arteries by replacing a substance called plasmalogen that is normally found there. The research supporting this connection between XO and hardening of the arteries is not clear-cut, but whether or not there is a definite cause-and-effect relationship between the two should not be a critical factor in deciding whether you should drink milk. This possible XO link to heart disease is but one more potential connection of milk to disease and premature death."

Margaret Moss, MA, Director of the Nutrition and Allergy Clinic in Greater Manchester, UK, wrote in a Jan. 2, 2008 e-mail to that:
"Homogenisation of milk may make coronary heart disease more common and more serious. Fat globules in cows' milk are surrounded by membranes. Some people make antibodies to these membranes. The antibodies cause human platelets to clump together, at least in the laboratory. It is thought that this occurs in real life, encouraging clotting in patients who have the antibodies. The antibodies also bind to natural killer cells, one of whose functions is to reduce inflammation. When the antibodies are bound to them, the action of these cells is suppressed, increasing inflammation. We know that inflammation plays a part in coronary heart disease. Homogenisation breaks up milk fat globules, increasing the surface area of the membrane, which is likely to increase the antibody response. Xanthine oxidase has been suggested as the part of the milk fat globule membrane that causes the formation of antibodies, but other components may be involved."

***2012/06/22 UPDATE***

Is this milk non-homogenised?
I see the 低温殺菌牛乳 kanji so I know it's LTLT pasteurised (66°C), but where does it say it's homogenised. Japanese for non-homogenised milk is 均質化されていない乳 (きんしつばかされてないにゅう). Direct English translations are always the best - Milk that has not been "bewitched" by homogenisation.
Price: forgot
Pasteurisation method: LTLT (66°C for 30mins)
Homogenised: Yes?
Fat: 3.7g/100ml

Non Homogenised "Orache" Milk from the "Natural Mart" in Hiroo
Price: 368yen
Pasteurisation method: LTLT (65°C for 30mins)
Homogenised: No
Fat: 3.7g/100ml

This is my prized purchase of the day. Looking forward to 2 New York cheesecakes, 4 litres of milk, beer, bacon and eggs, sausages and caramel popcorn tomorrow.

"Natural Mart" in Hiroo

Here's where I sought out and found "Non-homogenised milk".
They also sell "Raspberry Leaf Tea" which is said to bring on labour in pregnant women.
My wife drank 3 cups of the tea and her labour started one week early! Yikes!

Anyway, it's an interesting shop selling a lot of overpriced useless hippy vegan tat, but for some things, like a nice cup of milk its worth the extra few yen for a treat.
Here's the address:
広尾フラワーホーム 1F
5丁目-19−5 Hiroo, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0012, Japan
"Natural Mart" in Hiroo