Prior to processing milk and cream were standardised and homogenised. Skim milk was cross-flow microfiltered (CFMF) prior to treatment with pulsed electric fields (PEF) or high temperature short time (HTST) pasteurization. The effect of temperature of the skim milk and product composition on the efficacy of PEF treatment was determined. The electrical conductivity of the product was related to fat and solids content and increased 5% for every g/kg increase of solids and decreased by nearly 0·7% for every g/kg increase of fat. From the three microbial groups analyzed (mesophilic, coliform, and psychrotroph) in milks differences (P<0·05) in the inactivation of mesophilic microorganisms were observed between the counts following PEF treatment, while HTST pasteurization resulted in higher reductions in all different counts than those obtained after PEF. Increasing the skim milk temperature prior to PEF treatment to about 34°C showed equivalent reductions in microbial counts to skim milk treated at 6°C in half the time. The reductions achieved by a combination of CFMF and PEF treatments were comparable to those achieved when CFMF was combined with HTST pasteurization. A higher reduction in coliform counts was observed in homogenised products subjected to PEF than in products that were only standardised for fat content.