1 March 1996

MAFF confirms Bactoscan payments legal

MILK hygiene payments based on Bactoscan readings are legal despite claims to the contrary, MAFF has confirmed.

Julie Dedman, managing director of West Riding Laboratories, claimed Milk Marque and ADAS planned to start paying producers on Bactoscan results rather than the old TBC test, but that did not comply with British and EU law.

She said the laws demanded that hygiene tests were measured in "colony forming units/ml", which TBC tests provided but Bactoscan did not. And she accused Milk Marque, the first organisation to buy the Bactoscan equipment, of failing to comply with the law.

But a MAFF official stressed there was no problem. "Commercial operators can use Bactoscan to monitor milk hygiene for their own commercial purpose," he said.

The only requirement in the legislation where a TBC test would be needed was for enforcement, for example if a local authority wanted to prosecute a producer for milk hygiene offences.

West Riding Laboratories, which tests milk for companies including Wiseman and The Cheese Company, has not invested in Bactoscan technology. Each machine costs over £100,000 and can test samples in five minutes, compared with the three days needed for TBC tests. &#42