Colostrum can be safely heat-treated without hurting antibody levels or increasing viscosity, just keep a close eye on the holding temperature. According to research cited in the June Journal of Dairy Science, heating colostrum to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 120 minutes did not affect antibody levels or viscosity. However, when researchers increased the holding temperature to 145 degrees F, they saw a 34-percent decrease in IgG concentration and a 33-percent increase in viscosity.

An upcoming companion paper to this study will address the optimal length of time to hold the colostrum at 140 degrees F. Lab results so far show that heating colostrum to 140 F for one hour achieves acceptable pathogen kill, says Sandra Godden, veterinarian at the University of Minnesota.