Is milk in tetra packs safe for young children and adults?


Is the milk nutritious? Is milk hygienic? Is it safe for young children? Does the milk need to be boiled? Does the milk remain fresh? Is it unadulterated? If you these questions are flipping through your mind about milk in tetra packs you'll find the answers right here.

Take a walk down the aisle of any supermarket where the dairy products are stocked and the neatly lined tetra packs containing milk are sure to catch your eye. Milk in tetra packs isn't that old in India, and most people I know are averse to the idea of using this milk. They have this unfounded belief that the milk is somehow unsafe. There are a lot of myths going around about milk that comes in tetra packs. And, it's time to dispel these fallacies and bring forth the facts.



Myth # 1 Milk in tetra pack doesn't spoil because it has preservatives

It is the packaging process that extends the shelf life of the milk. There are no preservatives added to it, to keep it from spoiling.
Milk remains contamination free in tetra packs
Milk packed in these packs is exposed to extremely high temperatures of 138° for approximately 2-3 seconds or 75°Celsius for approximately 15-20 seconds. This process helps in eliminating harmful micro-organisms and bacterial spores; making the milk absolutely safe to consume. This process is followed by packaging of the milk in a sterile environment; which ensures the milk remains safe for consumption for a longer period, without the inclusion of preservatives.

Myth # 2 Milk in tetra packs lacks nutrition

There is, in fact, more loss of nutrients when we boil milk at home. Most Indian homes bring milk to a boil and continue boiling it for another 8 – 10 minutes. We think doing so destroys all the harmful bacteria and viruses in the milk. The fact is boiling milk for extended periods leads to loss of B group vitamins particularly B1, B2 & B12. Over boiling also reduces the protein content in milk.

On the other hand, when milk is heated to a high temperature for just a few seconds (as explained above) it prevents loss of nutrients while killing the dangerous microbes present in it. The aseptically packaging of milk in tetra packs ensures it retains its nutritive value, better than milk packaged in any other form.

Myth # 3 Milk in tetra pack requires to be boiled

Milk in tetra pack containers does not require boiling. It can be had straight from the container. Boiling the milk will in fact deplete the water-soluble vitamins it contains. It is also a time-consuming action that eats into our resources, as well. You can of course heat the milk for your tea/coffee etc; but there is no need to boil it to death.

Packaging of milk in tetra packs involves a set of aseptic procedures, namely –
  • Ultra High-temperature Heating treatment (UHT) of milk
  • Use of Pre-sterilized tetra cartons for storing milk
  • Treatment and packing of milk in a sterile environment

These stringent procedures provide a conducive atmosphere for milk to stay contamination free, and safe for consumption without the need to boil, first. The milk can be had right from the pack, or heated if desired.
Milk retains nutrients in tetra packs

Myth # 4 Milk in tetra pack is not recommended for children

There is nothing wrong with milk in tetra packs. As a matter of fact the milk available in this kind of packaging is probably the most sterile milk available in the market. It is definitely more hygienic than what the local 'dudhwala' delivers at your doorstep,after milking the cows and buffaloes.

Remember, the milk is packaged under sterilized condition after being made microbe free. It couldn't get better than that. Milk in these packs is absolutely safe and as it also retains most of its nutritive value, it is good for your kids and adults in the family.

Milk in tetra packs is good on many counts -
  • Convenient to use and store
  • Portable
  • Extended shelf life
  • No added preservatives
  • No adulteration
  • Healthier option to regular milk
  • Can be used without boiling
  • Saves time, effort and money

Myth # 5 Inferior materials used in the pack is a health hazard

That is a misconception; for the materials are way within the parameters of safety standards. A tetra pack, especially that carrying consumable products is made from food grade materials. These containers consist of multiple layers of packing material – the outer casing is made of cardboard, which is lined with aluminium foil on the inside. Layers of food grade polythene sheets cover the foil. It is an ideal packing case for keeping milk from curdling.

Personal Experience

On a personal note; I am a regular user of tetra pack milk. The most popular brands that find their way into my kitchen storeroom are Nestle and Amul. There are a lot of different varieties available within these brands. But, I choose the ones that are low in fat.
I use the Slim Milk variant marketed by Nestle. Despite having a low fat content the milk is not watery. It tastes just fine; whether it's added to coffee, tea or had plain. I tried making ice-cream with it, with good results.

Amul is another of my favourite brand; especially the Slim 'n' Trim pack with zero cholesterol. I feel safe drinking this milk; because there is no risk of adding cholesterol to my diet. It tastes delicious, better than all the other regular milk. Other than using it for tea, coffee and desserts I use it for setting curd. The curd sets nice and thick.

Final Note

It is common knowledge that milk we get can sometimes be adulterated with skim milk powder, glucose and even detergent. The harmful effects of consuming such milk cannot be stressed enough.



If the tetra pack is unopened it has a longer shelf life; sometimes going into months. Once opened it stays good for 3-5 days, provided it is refrigerated. You can store the milk in the container itself. These packs do not occupy much space in the fridge; they fit in snugly in the shelves on the door. Some come with flip lids, others with screwed on caps, while some need to be snipped to open for convenience.

With tetra packs the calcium, protein and B vitamins in the milk are retained. Since no boiling of milk is required the loss of these nutrients is minimal. So, the next time you walk past tetra packs sitting on the display racks in the store do yourself a favour and pick one up. You'll not regret the decision.

Note: Images in the above article belong to me.


Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Comments

Author: K Mohan21 Mar 2015 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

My appreciation to the author for giving the incite details on the importance of tetra pack milk than the normal ones. This is the summer and often we get the complaints of milk getting broken due to over heat temperature outside. The normal milk which is kept in the fridge and taken out for boiling, wont with stand the heating capacity and hence brakes. The broken milk cannot be given to the children or adults. This information given is really useful and everyone can go for it at least this summer time.

Author: Juana24 Jul 2015 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

Milk does curdle if it is not stored hygienically at optimum temperatures. Over boiling milk to keep it safe for drinking is also not good, as the fats in the milk break down and change the composition of milk. Milk in tetra packs stays good for longer and is healthy as well.

Milk that has curdled should not be wasted. It can be made into paneer or chenna. Just add a few drops of lemon/lime juice or vinegar or citric acid to it and bring it to a boil. Water will separate from the milk solids. Strain the water (it can be used for making atta, kneading dough) and use the milk solid as paneer or chenna.

Author: Umesh27 Aug 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

The tetra packs of good companies are ideal for consumption as they are enriched with vitamins and other minerals and are packaged in clean and hygienic conditions. So there is no point in doubting their effectiveness.

The tetra packs of mediocre and local companies can be a risk as we are not sure about their environment of preparation. In that case we should not go for them if we are not sure about the qualities.

Now a days there are many cases of milk adulteration which are being caught by enforcing authorities especially in plastic milk packets. I hope, no such cases are happening with the tetra packs.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha10 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5

Milk in tetra - pack especially Amul - is unparallel in the sense it is the best variant available in the market containing abundant Calcium, Phosphorus apart from VitaminB3, Vitamin6 and Vitamin 12. The good thing of such packs is that they have of different variants available in as little as a pack of 200 ml and the economy size being of the 1000ml pack.

The unfortunate part is that most of consumers are not aware of the nutrients this tetra pack possess. Moreover, consumers are of the opinion that such variants need boiling like that used by other brands. They should carefully go through the literature so that they can be aware of the different benefits associated with it.

Milk adulteration has grown exponentially so when using any product available in the market, we must weigh the benefits of tetra - packs subjected to ultra-high temperature and using different measures, ensuring a health hazard free product.

The article appears to very informative and we can derive benefits of such products if used consistently.

Author: Juana18 Jun 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

Umesh,
Thanks for the alert, though I have not come across any mediocre or local company selling milk in tetra packs. Yes, there are many local brands that sell milk in plastic pouches. The problem with that (apart from the point about adulteration) is that they may not be using food grade plastic for packaging the milk. It is best to buy milk sold by a reputed brand.

Milk in tetra packs should bear the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) seal. FSSAI has stringent rules and regulations when it comes to providing a license to milk packaging units. This ensures that both the packaging and the quality of milk are of a certain standard. The fear of adulterated milk can be vanquished and you can be sure of pure milk.

There are many advantages to milk packaged in tetra pack; that the milk retains its nutrients and has a longer shelf life is one among them.

Author: Varghese18 Jun 2019 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Though the article is not a recent one, I found it informative. It gives an insight into the advantages of using tetra pack milk. The only thing that concerns me is the cost, as these are double the cost of normal packet milk. But when compared with the normal packed milk, the tetra-pack, as per the article, is worth going for. A good article with a self experienced cover adds a silver lining to the write-up.



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