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Flash pasteurization, also called "high-temperature short-time" (HTST) processing, is a method of heat pasteurization of perishable beverages like fruit and vegetable juices, beer, kosher wine, and some dairy products such as milk. Compared with other pasteurization processes, it maintains color and flavor better, but some cheeses were found to have varying responses to the process.
Flash pasteurization is performed prior to filling into containers in order to kill spoilage microorganisms, to make the products safer and extend their shelf life. It must be used in conjunction with sterile fill technology (similar to aseptic processing) to prevent post-pasteurization contamination.
The liquid moves in a controlled, continuous flow while subjected to temperatures of 71.5 °C (160 °F) to 74 °C (165 °F), for about 15 to 30 seconds.
The standard US protocol for flash pasteurization of milk, 71.7 °C for 15 seconds, was introduced in 1933, and results in five log (99.999%) or greater reduction in harmful bacteria. An early adopter of pasteurization was Tropicana Products, which has used the method since the 1950s. The juice company Odwalla switched from non-pasteurized to flash-pasteurized juices in 1996 after tainted unpasteurized apple juice containing E. coli O157:H7 sickened many children and killed one.