Cleanliness of animals and equipment
In this part of the guide, we are exploring ways to detect and avoid risks of contamination in dairy farms. In the previous sections, we have discussed – among other things – animal health, animal cleanliness and milking practices. In this part of the guide, we will continue discussing how milking practices can help prevent contamination risks. The milking practices is a major influencing factor in maintaining milk quality and safety.
How milking practices influence contamination risks
As we mentioned in the previous part of the guide, it is of utmost importance to check the milk for abnormalities. These abnormalities include physical or chemical or organoleptic abnormalities. Organoleptic abnormalities refer to abnormal taste or smell of the milk or the way it looks. In short, organoleptic abnormalities are abnormalities that can be perceived by the senses. If any kind of abnormality is discovered by the employees who are responsible for the milking process, then the milk has to be discarded. But this is not the only aspect of milking practices that needs to be addressed when we talk about hygiene and contamination risks. Cleaning and animal cleanliness is a part of best practices for milking. It is important before the staff starts the milking process, that the udders, the teats and any adjacent parts have been cleaned thoroughly. If not, the risk of contamination of the milk increases. Finally, it is crucial to have standard procedures for cleaning hands, contact surfaces between milk and materials and all milking equipment. It is necessary to implement control measures that make sure that all of the following are cleaned every time an animal is being milked:
- Adjacent parts
- Contact surfaces
- Milking equipment
Keeping the milking equipment clean and free of bacteria
In order to get rid of bacteria – and contamination risks – all the different surfaces that come into contact with the milk must be disinfected and cleaned right after every single milking. This is important because otherwise there might be created a basis for bacteria growth, and this can ultimately create consequences for both consumers and the milk production company. It is not just the different surfaces that the milk gets in touch with that have to be cleaned. It is also the equipment used for milking that needs to be cleaned thoroughly and frequently.
High demands on hygiene in dairy farms
There are loads of standards and legislation when it comes to hygiene in milk farms. Some of the ones we have touched upon so far are animal health, animal cleanliness and basic milking procedures, for instances procedures for cleaning equipment or even just the hands of the employees. The equipment is a very important part of the cleaning because lack of cleaning increases the risk of microorganic growth, bacteria and contamination which renders the milk unsuitable for human consumption. For every single machinery part of the equipment, it is important that it is designed for cleaning – with hygiene in mind. This applies to all parts, everything from adjustable castors, feet and conveyor parts in the different kinds of machinery and equipment.
If you wish to learn more about hygienic milk production and how to reduce contamination risks, then go on to read part 5 of 5 of this practical guide. In this part, we discuss how to design machinery equipment for milking that is hygienic through and through.