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Initial psychrotroph counts determined by a Most Probable Number technique were correlated with shelf-lives of pasteurized milk determined at a number of storage temperatures. The initial psychrotroph count was also correlated with a bacterial count carried out on milk agar containing crystal violet penicillin and nisin after previous incubation of the milk at 15°C for 25 h.

Pre-incubation counts carried out at a variety of temperatures and on a variety of media were examined for their relation to shelf-life. Shelf-lives at four pre-set temperatures (2, 6, 10 and 14°C) could best be predicted by pre-incubation of pasteurized milk at 15°C before inoculation on milk agar.

An equation which allows prediction of shelf-life of pasteurized milk at any storage temperature is described.