Keeping milk bacteria counts low


Source: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Check these areas of the milk pipeline:

  • the receiver jar should be clean inside and out
  • line between receiver jar and the cooler…If this is removed for washing it does not always get a good cleaning in the sink
  • when milking, check the receiver jar for foam and air leaks. Also be aware of any air leaks at the pipeline inlets
  • make sure there is a correct slope to the pipeline, to ensure good drainage of wash water
  • Check several inlets in the stable or parlour with a flashlight, especially the last 4 or 5 inlets before the water returns back to the milk house
  • Sensors/meters in the parlour… if possible check the surface with your finger for evidence of slippery film
  • check the line leading to the sanitary trap as well as inside the sanitary trap for a milk residue build up

Check the wash sink:

  • it should be as clean as the rest of the system
  • it should not be greasy, scaly or rusty
  • make sure the sink drain does not leak

In the area of cooler function:

Ideally the first milking shall be cooled to 1-4°C within 1 hour after milking. For subsequent milkings, the blend temperature should not exceed 10°C, and the milk shall be cooled to 1-4°C within an hour after milking is complete.

If the cooling system is not meeting these requirements, check the following:

  • the sight glass of the cooler, if there are bubbles refrigerant level is low
  • the empty cooler will show a frost pattern when it is turned on
  • check the cleanliness of the condenser radiator, a clean radiator is needed for the free flow of air
  • fresh and clean air needs to be available to the cooling system all the time
  • make sure the thermostat and thermometer are functioning properly
  • check the cooler system for signs of leaking refrigerant (e.g. grease spots)

Check the inside of the cooler for cleanliness:

  • paddle undersides are critical
  • top right and left corners at the far end from the spray pump
  • the outlet area including gaskets are prone to milk residue buildup
  • the manhole gasket and the dipstick can be sources of bacteria

Using this checklist will help you identify areas of your milk equipment that could use extra attention in order to maintain low levels of bacteria in the milk.