Tetra Pak Package Numbers Hoax

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There are so many health blogs online that many of them try to stand out above the crowd by posting startling news. Since genuine healthcare is slow and plodding work, most of them just end up making up stories. Yes, they lied to you. Here is a new example, posted on the 6th of June 2015 by Healthy Food Kings and the 23rd of July 2015 by Healthy Living House :

Tetra Pak Package Numbers Hoax

Here is what the article itself claims, with a photo that we edited to better illustrate what they are talking about :

It is very possible that you have never seen those numbers on the bottom of a milk package, or ever thought about the meaning of the numbers. You need to know that these numbers aren’t written randomly, and everybody should be aware of their meaning. Take a closer look at the bottom of the milk package and you will see that there are numbers from 1 to 5 (in some countries you can even see from 1-6).

There are two different meanings behind them. The first one is pretty scary and caused panic between the costumers because the numbers in fact mean how many times the milk was recycled and reprocessed. So, this means that there is a legal regulation of how many times the manufacturer can reprocess the milk at 190°C and send it back on the market shelves. The milk can be reprocessed 5 times (legally), and the manufacturer is obligated to print the exact number of times the milk is reprocessed. If you like to know how many times the milk is reprocessed, you will look at the bottom of the package and look for the numbers (123456). If one number is not on the list, this is the exactly how many times the milk was reprocessed. For example 12356, you can notice that the number 4 is missing, which means that the milk’s date of usage has expired 4 times or the milk was re-pasteurized 4 times.

Also, you can see that some packages have only one number, instead of the six mentioned above. This number shows the same thing. In case you bought a whole box, you will notice that they are mixed up where one number missing from one package is applied on the other one. Some second piece information says that these numbers have nothing to do with the milk instead they are showing how many times the carton has been recycled. What we know for sure is that the milk re-processing is real and it is not disallowed in many countries around the world.

Tetra Pak Package Numbers Hoax

In case you don’t know this by now… that was all made-up. Yes, Healthy Food Kings and Healthy Living House are LYING to you!


Who The Heck Reprocesses Milk???

Milk is not gold. It’s not even copper. It is a perishable food product that is continuously being produced by cows. In other words, there is no shortage of milk. So why on earth would anyone want to waste time and money “reprocessing” milk???

Use a little common sense, people. Pasteurised milk lasts for WEEKS, and the demand is strong enough that very few (if at all) are left on the shelves until they expire. It would cost manufacturers time and money to ship these expired packages to reprocess. That’s even assuming the milk components have not separated and can still be repasteurised.

Remember – pasteurisation kills bacteria, not reconditions milk that has broken down into its constituents. Once milk breaks down like that, pasteurisation can’t save it. So milk manufacturers would have to check and test each and every expired package that arrives to determine if they can even be “recycled”. All of that expense in time and money would cost more than just using fresh milk!


The Truth About The Tetra Pak Package Numbers

Tetra Pak is a manufacturer of food packaging. They do NOT process milk. They only sell preprinted packages like that Tetra Brik above to manufacturers who use them to package drinks or milk.

Tetra Pak’s printing equipment typically has 5 rollers. To keep track of printing faults, they print the numbers (1 2 3 4 5) at the bottom of each Tetra Pak package. If their client spots any printing errors, the Tetra Pak package numbers will allow them to quickly pinpoint and rectify the fault.

Here is the press release issued by Parmalat, one of Tetra Pak’s clients on this rumour :

The Tetra Pak Company answered a rumor launched by e-mail, according to which the pasteurized milk unsold during the shelf-life period is removed from the market, pasteurized for a second time, packed and brought back to the stores.

The message also said that the pasteurization process can be repeated, the number on the back of the pack (2, 3, 4 or 5) indicating the number of pasteurizations. The electronic message is accompanied by a picture of a Tetra Pak UHT milk pack on which the number 1 is circled.

Tetra Pak states in a handout that “The rumor according to which the pasteurized milk would be reprocessed up to 5 times is wrong and started from a wrong interpretation of the numbers on the Tetra Pak packs.”

The packaging producer explains the signification of the number on the back of the pack, in the photo accompanying the message: “The pack in the photo is an aseptic pack (Tetra Brik Aseptic) for UHT milk (Ultra – High Temperature) and not for pasteurized milk like it is mentioned in the message launched on the Internet. That number (circled in the photo) refers to the number of the roller on which the packaging material was printed; the printing equipment in the Tetra Pak plant usually has 5 rollers.

The numbers (1,2,3,4 and 5) are printed in our plants, than the packaging material is delivered to the client. When the client reports a functionally defect, the roller on which the packaging material was printed must be identified in order to communicate it to the Tetra Pak plant and rectify it. A number is printed every second; that is why, some packs have the number written down on them, some don’t (the printing speed of the Tetra Pak equipment is higher than 1 pack/second).

Aside from the above mentioned information, we consider it childish to believe that a milk producer would print on the pack how many times the milk had been “recycled”.

Moreover, the food producer is not allowed to take back the expired products, because these are, according to law, the property of the store and it is its duty to discard them (they are handed to the sanitation service operator that the supermarket contracted to pick up the waste products).”

We hope this kills the Tetra Pak package numbers hoax once and for all. Please SHARE this with your family and friends, instead of that fabricated story. Do your part to spread truth, not hoaxes.

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