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From Cattle to Carton - Dairy Quality Testing

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Dairy is one of the most basic and significant segments of the food industry. Milk and milk products often travel long distances from the farms, to milk processing units, to retailers, to suppliers and then finally to your glass. This leads to a scope for people to debase the quality of dairy products for all kinds of reasons. A recent report by Economic Times states that, ‘2 out of every 3 people in India drink milk adulterated with caustic soda, detergent, urea or paint’. These adulterants present in milk are hazardous to health and can cause severe damage to human organs. In order to assure that the consumer receives unadulterated dairy products it becomes all the more important to assure dairy quality control. But what are the factors that affect a dairy business in terms of quality of the dairy products? How to assure the quality of the dairy products in its journey from farm to home? What are the steps involved in dairy testing? Let’s explore Dairy Quality Testing from Cattle to Carton.

What is Dairy Quality Testing?

Dairy Quality testing is the process of using approved tests to ensure that the milk production process and the produced milk are as per the approved practices, standards and regulations. Dairy testing also ensures that milk quality meets the acceptable standards for chemical composition, purity and level of different micro-organisms.

What is the significance of Dairy Testing?

Dairy quality is affected by the following factors: animal husbandry and care, animal health, milk handling & storage and processing. Dairy testing ensures that all the stakeholders, the farmers, milk producers, milk processors, the retailers and the collection agencies adhere to the dairy quality standards. A regular dairy testing and quality analysis is of crucial importance in producing milk and milk products that are safe and suitable for consumption.

Ensuring Dairy Quality Control from Cattle to Carton and beyond:

Dairy testing has to be done at all stages of the dairy chain :-

  • Stage – 1: Dairy quality control begins at the farm. Farmers can achieve this by using approved practices of milk production, handling and observing the laid down regulations related to use of veterinary drugs on animals and adulteration of milk etc.
  • Stage – 2: All the milk from different farmers in a collecting center or bulked milk from different collecting centers in a Dairy factory, has to be checked for wholesome, chemical and biological quality.
  • Stage – 3: The dairy factory has to ensure that the milk is processed in a hygienic way. Dairy testing must be taken up in this stage as well to ensure that conformed standards are met.
  • Stage – 4: The final step of the dairy quality control is executed by the Public Health authorities to ensure and protect the consumer interests as per the law.

The metrics to consider in dairy testing are:

  1. Quantity – It is usually measured in volume (in ml or l) or by weight (in gm or kg).
  2. Organoleptic characteristics like appearance, smell and taste.
  3. The composition of milk, especially the fat, solid and protein components.
  4. Hygiene, cleanliness and quality conditions of the production and milk collection environment needs to be considered for dairy testing.
  5. The amount of water, preservatives, added solids and other adulterations need to be strictly tested and verified.
  6. Finally, drug residues have to be checked.

Techniques in Dairy and Dairy Products Quality Testing and Control

There are several techniques used in the process of dairy testing and dairy quality control. Here are a few methods:

  • Sampling of milk by removing milk fat.
  • Sampling milk for bacteriological testing in an equipment.
  • Preserving milk samples by the use of chemicals.
  • Clear labeling and records keeping of the samples.
  • Common tests of milk like-
    • Organoleptic tests
    • Clot on Boiling (C.O.B) test
    • Alcohol test
    • The Alcohol-Alizarin test
    • Acidity test
    • Resazurin test
    • Kerber Butterfat test
    • Lactometer test
    • Freezing point determination
    • Inhibitor test

Dairy businesses are often not aware of the milk quality testing norms and procedures which can lead to consumer dissatisfaction and ultimately poorer sales. TÜV SÜD provides recognized dairy testing services including inspection, audit and certifications with expertise and regular support to help dairy businesses in dairy quality control. It offers quality testing of dairy products at every stage of the production delivery chain to ensure that your products are fully compliant with all relevant regulations. TÜV SÜD offers the right systems, processes and procedures to help your organisation meet the requirements and to deliver quality dairy products in a timely manner. TÜV SÜD works closely with your organisation to design a testing program that best meets your requirements with topmost accuracy and reliability. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with Dairy Quality Testing.

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