Homogenization is your friend and you didn’t even know it

Homogenization was invented by August Gaulin in France in 1899. The root word of homogenization is hōmō, which means the same. So, homogenized milk looks the same whether it be in your glass at home, a bottle at the corner store, or in a carton at a school cafeteria. But why does milk need to be homogenized you might ask? Simply, milk that has not been homogenized will separate. All the cream, which is milk-fat, floats to the top and fat-free skim milk is left on the bottom.  To keep this from happening, milk is homogenized. Rest assured, this involves no fake additives or preservatives and the nutritional content of the milk is unchanged. 

The process is simple. 

  • Milk is first spun in a big drum. You need a really big drum because well, there’s a lot of milk. 
  • As speed increases, fats are forced to the sides of the barrel and pushed through smaller and smaller holes. 
  • The size of the milk fat particles become so small that they stay floating in the milk without separating. 
  • Not only will your milk look the same from carton to cup, but it will last longer in the refrigerator. 

It is important to not confuse homogenization with pasteurization. Pasteurization occurs before homogenization and is the proper heating and cooling of milk making it safe to drink. Pasteurized and homogenized milk maintain the same nutrient benefits.  If anything, pasteurized and homogenized milk are even better for you. During this entire process, vitamin A and D are added to milk for better eye and bone health. Milk also has the same levels of calcium, 8 grams of protein per 1 cup serving, plus other much needed nutrients like potassium and phosphorus.

Rest assured. Milk from the store and at school is safe, nutritious, and convenient. Sit down, put your feet up, and have a cold glass of milk. Life can be hard. Feeding your family shouldn’t be.


Click here for more information on homogenization.

Click here for more information on pasteurization. 

By Kaci McClatchy Creel

Kaci grew up on a beef cattle and wheat farm and has always had a passion for helping consumers understand farming. She has been part of the Dairy MAX team since 2009. When she's not working, Kaci is spending time with her daughter or traveling. Learn more about Kaci

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