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DAIRY PRODUCTS

Dairy beverage processing technology
Friday, 03 December, 2021, 14 : 00 PM [IST]
Dr Prakash Kondekar
Dairymilk beverage processing line containing beverages or milk-based products are beverage products prepared or fermented with dairy products or raw milk as raw materials, adding water and appropriate amounts of auxiliary materials, after sterilising, homogenising and then filling into small packages.

There are more than 10 million dairy farmers belonging to 96000 local dairy co operatives in India.According to the latest report by IMARC Group, on Dairy Industry in India-2020,dairy market in India reached,Rs 10,527billion last year.The focus is more on value-added products such as,turmeric milk, probiotic drinks.

Dairy beverages can be like Fluid milk products, Flavoured milk, Butter milk,  whey,Condensed milk.Chocolate milk is trending as  post-workout recovery drink. All these products begin with fresh farm milk. Before it transforms into different products, it goes through several steps of processing to meet quality and regulatory requirements.

Steps of milk beverage processing raw receiving
Processors receive raw milk in insulated road tankers,goes for quality organoleptic/lab tests.

Raw storage
Large vertical silo tanks store untreated raw milk. Controlling temperature inside  silo and  time held in the tank.

Batching a rapid process combining liquid and dry ingredients in  proper ratios to meet recipe and batch size.

Pasteurisationusing heat to destroy pathogens to improve food safety. The most common method of dairy pasteurisation  is  HTST.

Separation skim milk from cream is a fundamental process in the dairy lifecycle, uses centrifugal forces.

Standardisation is the process of adjusting  fat content of milk to a specified value.

Standardisation typically occurs via one of these two methods:
•    Continuous standardisation  – Blends cream and skim via monitoring  ingredient and product characteristics adjusting  flows as per requirements.
•    Batch standardisation –Operators confirm product characteristics via lab testing and adjust as required. Homogenisation,breaks down fat globules to prevent the formation of a cream layer.
•    Pasteurised storage,kills disease-causing bacteria and extends shelf life.

Filling and packaging
•    Filling – Can be in cartons, glass, pouches, bottles.
•    Packaging –systems organise product containers into easily stored and transported cartons/ boxes/palettes.

Aseptic dairy processing & filling
Demand for aseptic processing and packaging is growing in  dairy industry. This process requires UHT pasteurisation and aseptic conditions throughout  entire process. One of the main benefits is extended shelf life and decreased transport costs because many  aseptic packaging productsneed no refrigeration.

Future of dairy processing
Automationin dairy plants plays an important role in food safety, equipment safety and personnel safety.Automated equipment can monitor tanks and systems to help ensure cleaning, set off sophisticated alarms to alert if a product is out of  temperature safety zone and ensure systems aren’t overpressurised or at risk of rupture. New/recent generations of automated dairy processing equipment can even lock out the wrong ingredients.

Automation can happen at the level of a single testing protocol or piece of equipment or it can span an entire facility, from receiving to packaging. Fully automated facilities may require just two or three operators in a department per shift who oversee  process from a central control room.

When considering the implementation of automation, a facility’s goal is to achieve a practical level of automation that balances capital costs and operational costs.

The more a dairy processing plant implements automation, the more it can potentially save over time, including:
•    Decreased labour costs – Fewer operators means lower employee costs.
•    Improved throughput – Less “human interaction” involved in processing, fewer shutdowns as a result of an error.
•    Proactive maintenance – An automated, data-driven plant is better positioned to predict and prevent equipment performance issues, resulting in fewer unexpected interruptions.
•    Product safety – An automated, repeatable process with minimal “human interaction” can improve product quality.

Flexibility
Increasingly, dairy producers looking for flexible, multi-product facility designs. This requires  right combination of parallel and concurrent activities to meet flexible processing demands through raw processing; pasteurization; culture and fermentation, as required. For example,  large facility might have multiple process systems feeding several dozen pasteurised storage tanks which in turn feed a dozen packaging lines while also supporting simultaneous CIP operations, resulting in many possible combinations.

Flexibility must be balanced with profitability. Large installers are not going to pause a highly profitable product run for a less profitable product on same line. Similarly, they will likely not be keen to invest a large amount of capital to build a new line that doesn’t maximise profit.

Dairy processing plant design and construction
One enemy of any dairy plant is unwanted pathogens. Because dairy products are ideal breeding grounds for these unwanted invaders if not handled correctly, engineers must mitigate risk by following hygienic design principles. When it comes to pathogens, prevention is better than cure. Hygienic design principles guide both equipment and material selection and CIP processes to support food safety, as discussed below.

Equipment & material selection
Full draining is vital to hygienic design. When installing all pipes, tanks and valves, facility planners must ensure that drains can be emptied completely.

When selecting tanks and vessels for use within a dairy plant, facility planners should also consider several  hygienic factors:
•    Avoid non-cleanable crevices
•    Assess and select agitator blades for their accessibility/cleanability.
•    Ensure that  location, size and length of tank top ports enable cleaning.
•    Select tanks with dome tops so that CIP spray will create a cascade effect for full coverage.
Selecting appropriate construction materials matters just as much as the overall equipment design.

Dairy beverage industry is constantly improving. Advances in processing methods are yielding higher quality products. New processing methods can help reduce waste and increase milk production and process efficiency. Implementation of improved mix-proof valves is supporting expanded automation,flexibility and efficiency. New and advanced approaches to filtration are helping manufacturers increase their protein content.

Total dairy sector turnover will be aboutRs60,000 crore,creating jobs over 10 millions in near future which will be healthy sign for Indian Agri Economy. Dairy beverage industry is experiencing a period of growth and innovation. In order to leverage these shifts in a competitive and increasingly diversified market, dairy processors need a flexible and innovative approach to facility planning and operating.

(The author is director at Indian Institute of Naturopathy)
 
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