If you look on the bottom of a milk carton packaging you`ll notice numbers from 1 to 5 (in some countries from 1 to 6). There are 2 different meanings behind them. The first one has caused some serious panic amongst consumers because the numbers actually represent how many times the milk has been recycled or reprocessed.
There is even a legal regulation that allows expired milk to be reprocessed again at 190 °C and send back to the stores. This procedure (allowed by law) can be done up to 5 times so all manufactures are required to print the exact number of times they have repeated this process.
Like we said if you look on the bottom you`ll notice printed numbers (123456) if one number is missing that`s exactly how many times the milk was recycled. For example 12456, you can see that number 3 is missing which means the milk`s date of usage has expired 3 times or the milk has been re-pasteurized 3 times.
Some packages do not have all the numbers, just one that indicates the same thing. Also manufactures tend to mix them up so if you buy the whole box you`ll notice that the number missing from some package is applied on the other one.
Now, according to the second piece of information these numbers have nothing to do with the milk, but how many times the carton has been recycled.
The truth is that milk re-processing or recycling whatever you call it, is real and allowed in some countries.