A Look at the Use of Stainless Steel in the Dairy Industry

For the food and beverage industry, few things are more important than the ability to create, store, and move products in a way that is sanitary. Stainless steel sanitary valves, fittings, and pipes can make that possible. There are a few reasons that stainless steel is the ideal material preferred by many dairy processing plants.

  • Steel works at a number of different temperatures. Stainless steel sanitary valves, strainers, and pipes can withstand both very hot and very cold temperatures. This property of the material is one of the reasons it is ideal for use in the production of food and beverages. The production and processing of dairy products require high temperatures be used. The storage depends upon the use of cold temperatures. Because stainless steel works well in both, it is perfect.
  • Steel can last a long time. There are not many materials out there that can last as long as steel. Steel is one of the most popular materials around the world. One reason for this is how long its lifespan is. When exposed to normal conditions, items made from it can last more than a century. While no one expects dairy products to last 100 years, putting these products in a material that can give a lot of peace of mind to dairy farmers and consumers alike. When stainless steel sanitary valves and fittings are used, dairy producers can forget about worrying about them.
  • Steel is an easy material to clean. Keeping the environment where foods and beverages clean and sanitary is incredibly important. When you are using sanitary tubing, valves, pipes, and fittings, you have to do everything you can to keep them clean and sanitary. That means using a material that can be cleaned easily is very important. Stainless steel fits that bill perfectly.
  • Steel is resistant to bacteria. Bacteria are always on the lookout for a nice place to live. Stainless steel does not meet the requirements of a happy place for bacteria to hang out. Because it has no grooves for the bacteria to hide in and because it is so easy to clean, it is very easy to keep sanitary.

It may not be clear but the dairy industry has been instrumental in moving the food and beverage industry forward in terms of food safety. Advancements in the use of sanitary valves, pipes, and tubing started in this industry and were replicated in other areas. Today, food is safer, cleaner, more nutritious, and sustainable than at any other point in human history.

Some of the developments, for example, milk pasteurization, are routine today but were not a hundred years ago. Looking at the way these changes came about can give us valuable insight into what developments and advancements are on the horizon.

A little over 100 years ago, people got their milk from a local dairy farm, their own cow or a commercial dairy in an urban area. Processing options were very limited. Milk that was sold in retail establishments came in one-quart containers. These were reusable and returnable. These were made of glass. There were a variety of tops used on the glass bottles.

At the time, the price tag on one quart of milk was nine cents. In today’s money, that would translate to about two dollars. Milk back then was very different from milk today. It had a different nutritional content, was full of different microbes and tasted different. Today, milk bought at stores has been pasteurized and homogenized. This makes it safer and healthier for everyone.

Other developments revolved around the equipment and materials used in dairy processing. As people learned more about how contamination works, techniques and tools were developed to combat it. We know a lot more about how bacteria survive in different conditions and how important it is to use sanitary tools and equipment.

While today’s food and beverages are safer and cleaner than they have ever been, more progress can be made to reduce the number of bacteria given access to what we eat and drink. Looking at the past and the developments that have been made can lead us in a better and safer direction.

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