Food tech company Naturo has secured a $1 million federal grant for its patented milk processing technology. The process extends fresh milk’s shelf life to more than 60 days and helps retain more nutrients than conventional pasteurisation.

Naturo will use the funding to build a pilot manufacturing plant in Coolum. It is one of nine businesses that shared $4.4 million in matched grant funding under the Accelerating Commercialisation scheme.

Naturo CEO Jeff Hastings and team member.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said she was impressed by Naturo’s ingenuity and determination.

Andrews said: “This grant will help the company build a pilot plant in Queensland to create their product and then export it to the world, while also paving the way for a full-scale facility to be built in regional Tasmania.”

Food & Drink Business interviewed Naturo CEO Jeff Hastings in August 2019 when the company patented its process, now known as Haelen, and was launching the Naturo subsidiary, The Wholey Milk Co.

Hastings said: “Our patented process is the only known method that kills Bacillus cereus, a common but unwanted spore forming bacterium in milk that produces toxins causing vomiting or diarrhoea.”

The process keeps milk much closer to the original product, Hastings said. Pasteurisation heats milk to 72 degrees, which destroys some of the goodness in milk including alkaline phosphatase activity and reduces B2 and B12 levels.

In 2019, Dairy Food Safety Victoria said the technology was safe and the process “may be used as an alternative treatment to pasteurisation for raw milk”.

The technology was hailed as a game-changer for the global export market as the process means milk can be shipped rather than flown overseas. Hastings said: “The key advantage is our shelf life, which means we can sea freight the product into broader Asia, including China or in fact anywhere in the world.”

Andrews said: “Through the commercialisation of innovative products and services like this we’re also creating new jobs and giving a much-needed boost to our economy as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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