This Research Communication describes the relationship between casein, free fatty acids (FFAs) and the storage period of ultra-high temperature-treated (UHT) whole milk observed for a period of 120 d of labelled shelf-life. Moreover, we aim to estimate the daily rate of casein degradation in UHT whole milk, and the total length of time estimated for its full degradation. With this aim, ten sets of samples were evaluated from batches of UHT milk manufactured by a dairy processing plant in Parana State, Brazil on 10 different days. Each set was comprised of one liter of raw milk and 12 units of 1 litre cartons of UHT milk, and represented one batch of production. Total mesophilic (TMC), psychrotrophic (TPC), and somatic cell counts (SCC) of raw milk were assessed. UHT milk was assessed for fat (%), sialic acid (mg/l), casein (%), and FFA contents. TMC ranged from 3·5 × 106 to 3·1 × 107 CFU/ml; TPC, from 106 UFC/ml and higher; and SCC, from 18 × 104 SC/ml to 4·83 × 105 CS/ml. Casein (r = −0·991; R2 = 0·9822) and FFA (r = 0·962; R2 = 0·9245) contents, and storage time of UHT milk were correlated (P < 0·05). The rate of casein hydrolysis was estimated as 0·021 g/100 g UHT whole milk/day. A complete breakdown of casein was estimated to occur by the 560th day post-manufacture. Although age gelation was not observed in our study, the report herein corroborates the understanding that the microbiological quality and SCC of raw milk are important components involving the integrity of casein and lipids of UHT milk during shelf-life.