Sources of contamination

There are many sources of contamination:

  • The interior of the udder
  • The exterior of the udder
  • The hands of the milker
  • The air in the stable
  • The utensils used for milking

The interior of the udder

The presence of sore tissue inside the udder can affect the quality of milk. A healthy animal is the first criteria for high quality milk. It is important that the udder is cleansed by washing and wiping with a soft dry cloth and by eliminating the milk that comes out of the udder first.

The exterior of the udder

A good quality for milk is assured if the udder is washed properly before milking. To avoid bacterial transfer from one animal to another it is advised that the water used for washing and the cloth will be changed at every animal. The cloth and the bucket(used to transport water) must be replaced regularly, specially if there are a lot of animals with infections. Adding disinfectant to the water helps reduce the bacterial spread.

The hands of the milker

The person that milks the cow must wash his hands properly from elbow to palms using soap and clean water. During milking the hands of the worker must not come in contact with the milk.

The air from the stable

The air in the stable must be properly ventilated to avoid the forming of mold and fungi which can contaminate the milk through spores.

Utensiles used for manual milking

The cleanliness of the utensils used for depositing or transporting milk is very important because it influences the total bacterial count directly.Any milk that has a hight TBC is not accepted by the EU standards and can have a bad influence on production.

The containers in which the milk is transported must be very clean because milk can get infected if it is deposited in unclean containers.

The filters used for the milk must be clean, and replaced at every filtering because they can transmit a very big amount of bacteria from one batch of milk to another.

Automatic milking

When the milking is done automatically it is absolutely mandatory that the milking equipment is washed properly using special detergents and itt is required to be rinced properly to remove any traces of detergent or cleaning agent left inside the tubes.

The animals which have any kind of infection have to be milked last to ensure that the milk inside the equipment does not get contaminated.

After milking it is important that the milk is introduced in cooling tanks to assure that it reaches a temperature at which bacteria can’t multiply(temperature of fresh milk is about 36°C- perfect temperature for bacterial growth).


Frequent and independent milk quality test allow you to:

  • Improve the quality of milk
  • Create a payment method relying on the quality of milk

Disadvantages for milk processors when it comes to low quality milk:

  • The risk of breaking the law
  • Health and safety issues because of high TBC
  • Short shelf life for produce
  • The image of the company is deteriorated
  • Export restrictions

Disadvantages for farmers when it comes to low quality milk:

    • Small amounts of money
    • The risc that the milk will not be accepted by any processor.

Payment method:

      • Fat = % fat * price of fat
      • Protein = % protein * price of protein


Bonus is accounted according to the results obtained in TBC, SCC and physical cleanliness.

Penalties are applied if the results show that the milk contains inhibitor residues or added water.

Accepted values:

      • TBC
      • SCC
      • Freezing point > -0.515°C
      • No inhibitors


Depending on the results of the tests farmers can:

    • Optimize forage and feed ratios depending on the results obtained in Urea from milk and forage/feed psysical and chemical parameters.
    • Improve the hygiene in the farm if the TBC is high
    • Attend to animals health if SCC is high
    • Check milking methods and hygiene if water is added
    • Check if resting time (after antibiotic treatment) has been respected, proper cleaning of utilities (proper rinsing after the use of cleaning agents) if inhibitors are found in sample.