What Can Farmers Do to Reduce or Prevent Spores from Entering Raw Milk?
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Evanowski, Rachel; Murphy, Sarah
As demand for low-spore raw milk increases, and with it prospects for premiums, the dairy industry needs evidence-based recommendations to give producers the tools to take advantage of this opportunity. Research by the Milk Quality Improvement Program (MQIP) at Cornell University is aimed at understanding spore sources, farm practices associated with the transmission of spores into raw milk, and providing a set of best practices to producers to achieve low-spore raw milk. Recent studies led by MQIP researchers suggest that presence and levels of spores in bulk tank raw milk are associated with 1) bedding practices, 2) housing area characteristics and management, and 3) cow-level factors. Building on these studies, MQIP research is focused on measuring the impact of implementing intervention strategies at the farm level to disrupt the transfer of spores into the bulk tank raw milk from the environment. These strategies involve: training milking staff to focus on teat end cleaning during milking preparation and implementing changes in laundered towel preparation (use of detergent, chlorine bleach and drying). Preliminary analysis of the data collected from this study shows an approximate spore reduction of 40 percent for mesophilic and thermophilic spore counts.
spores; milk; quality; dairy