10 November 1995

Low count a priority

THE new European Directive on Milk Hygiene is already in force, but will affect farmers directly from July 1, 1997.

The rules affect milk that is intended for human consumption and represent an increasing emphasis on herd health, housing and milking practice.

But the main impact for the producer will be the requirement to produce milk with a somatic cell count below 400,000/ml at the farm. Milk that does not reach this standard cannot be marketed for human consumption.

From this year until 1997, the UK must meet the somatic cell count standards but samples are taken from the bulk loads arriving at dairy companies factories. From July 1997, however, the sampling will be taken at farm level.

Using a three-month geometric average producers whose milk is going for manufacture or to the liquid market will have to have an SCC below 500,000 from July 1, 1997. But from January 1998 that figure must be below 400,000.

And after July 1997 if the geometric average exceeds the standard for any month, then the producer has a further three months to get his geometric average SCC back within the standard. If any producer has four consecutive geometric results above 400,000, then his milk will not be allowed to enter the human food chain and will have to be sold for other purposes or destroyed. &#42

Milk quality standards for liquid milk

From 1995From July 1,From Jan 1,


TBC per ml of milk sampled atFarmFarmFarm 100,000100,000100,000

SCC per ml of milk sampled atFactoryFarmFarm400,000500,000400,000

Source: Nestlé.