The Process of Sampling and Testing and the Importance of Starting with Results in Mind
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The Process of Sampling and Testing and the Importance of Starting with Results in Mind

In the world of food safety in the dairy industry, one of the key pillars is the process of sampling and testing. And we do test a lot! Starting on the farm, we test from the cows to the pens to the holding tanks and all the way to the tanker. Then at the dairy plant,…

Sterile or Aseptic? Understanding the Difference
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Sterile or Aseptic? Understanding the Difference

Ensuring the quality and safety of dairy and food products is the number one priority of processors, explaining why questions surrounding sterile or aseptic frequently enter into the conversation, especially when discussing equipment cleanliness and sampling or testing techniques. While the words sterile and aseptic are often used interchangeably, they are not, in fact, interchangeable….

Economics of Quality Assurance in Dairy Processing
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Economics of Quality Assurance in Dairy Processing

A cost-benefit analysis of a well-conceived and carefully sustained quality assurance program for dairy processing is hard to pin down. Every month, the costs associated with maintaining quality assurance jump off the profit and loss statement, but the benefits are much harder to decipher. Still, when evaluating the economics of quality assurance over the long…

Preventing Post-Process Contamination: Don’t Lose Sight of the Basics
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Preventing Post-Process Contamination: Don’t Lose Sight of the Basics

With the World Health Organization estimating that one in ten people get sick and more than 400,000 die from foodborne illnesses each year, a public health focus aimed at decreasing this incidence is needed.  The primary goal of the management of risks associated with food is to protect public health by controlling them as effectively…

Hygienic Sampling Practices Are Vital to Protecting Dairy Product Quality and Safety
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Hygienic Sampling Practices Are Vital to Protecting Dairy Product Quality and Safety

Milk collected from the udders of healthy cows is almost sterile but microbial contaminants are introduced during milking, storage, processing, and distribution. Cleaning and sanitation failures allow contaminating organisms to accumulate in dairy processing equipment, potentially leading to the development of biofilms that can become a significant and persistent source of contamination. On the farm…

Effective Micro Program: Understanding the Microbiological Tests (Part 4)
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Effective Micro Program: Understanding the Microbiological Tests (Part 4)

Throughout this series on dairy microbiological testing, we have discussed the types of micro tests that can be used to enumerate the classifications of bacteria we are concerned with in fluid milk processing. The first two articles discussed Gram-negative bacteria in raw milk and the effects of Gram-positive heat resistant thermoduric/psychrotrophic spore formers (HRSF) on…

Micro Testing for Post-pasteurization Contamination (Part 3)
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Micro Testing for Post-pasteurization Contamination (Part 3)

The first article in this series, Raw Milk Dairy Micro Testing, focused on Gram-negative bacteria in raw milk with the Preliminary Incubation (PI) Count and Fresh Standard Plate Count (SPC) tests. The second article, The Effects of Gram-positive HRSF Bacteria on Fluid Milk Shelf Life, discussed another classification of bacteria that was not known as…

The Effects of Gram-positive HRSF Bacteria on Fluid Milk Shelf Life (Part 2)
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The Effects of Gram-positive HRSF Bacteria on Fluid Milk Shelf Life (Part 2)

The first article in this series, Raw Milk Micro Testing, focused on Gram-negative bacteria in raw milk with the Preliminary Incubation (PI) Count and Fresh Standard Plate Count (SPC) tests. In this second installment, I would like to discuss another classification of bacteria (Gram-positive HRSF Bacteria) that was not known as a major issue in fluid…

Raw Milk Dairy Micro Testing (Part 1)
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Raw Milk Dairy Micro Testing (Part 1)

Why do you do it? What do the test results tell you? Is the test you use still a valid one? In part one of this dairy micro testing series, Raw Milk Dairy Micro Testing, I would like to take you on a journey through the development of some of the principal tests used in…

Prevalence of Cold-tolerant Spore-forming Bacteria in the Milk Supply 
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Prevalence of Cold-tolerant Spore-forming Bacteria in the Milk Supply 

The shelf life of pasteurized fluid milk is challenged by bacterial contamination that enters the finished milk supply through two portals: a) contamination by Gram-negative psychrotrophic bacteria during processing after pasteurization; and b) contamination by Gram-positive spore-forming bacteria that enter primarily through the raw milk supply. In today’s processing environment, where post-pasteurization contamination is largely…