The researchers said they answered the needs of small-scale dairy farmers by expanding the window of the delivery time for raw milk without refrigeration while reducing costs and preserving the product quality for consumers.
Transportation costs of fresh cow’s milk from farms in Thailand to raw milk collection centers have always been a burden on dairy farmers. In a tropical country like Thailand, microorganisms grow quickly and milk spoils easily, so farmers must work fast and also bear transport refrigeration costs.
“Cow’s milk spoils so easily. It has to be refrigerated right after being milked, and on the way to raw milk collection centers; otherwise, it goes to waste along the way, and the raw milk centers will not buy it because it is too risky,” said David Makarapong, a researcher in the Technopreneurship and Innovation Management Program (CUTIP), Chulalongkorn University Graduate School, about the origins of the PASS+ project.
“The only common solution now is refrigeration. Chillers and refrigerators are very pricey, and they add costs for dairy farmers. As a result, consumers have to pay a higher milk price. This is the major question in our research. This innovation helps slow down the growth of microorganisms in cow’s milk by ultraviolet irradiation. We found that PASS+ reduced the number of microorganisms by up to 90% keeping milk from going bad even when not refrigerated while retaining the full benefits of milk.”
Makarapong explained how once the milk is processed with the PASS+ machine, farmers will have an additional 30 minutes to two hours for delivery, which is enough to preserve the milk quality during transport.
“Once we can prolong milk freshness without refrigeration, we drastically reduce the transportation costs. Farmers no longer have to buy chillers, and consumers will also receive fresh, great quality cow’s milk at a lower price.”
PASS+ has already been patented. Many small dairy farmers affiliated with the Dairy Farming Promotion Organization of Thailand who tried PASS+ said they are satisfied with it.
“PASS+ innovation will significantly transform the dairy farming industry, by not only yielding small farmers higher profit but also providing an alternative to the development of milk quality from farms, while reducing milk price for consumers,” Makarapong said.