Factors Affecting the Quality of Raw Milk: Effect of Time Taken for Transportation and Practices at Field Level in Small Farms in Sri Lanka
The bacterial load prior to the pasteurization affects the efficiency of pasteurization. This research was carried at the Milco dairy factory, milk chilling centers and farmers’ fields in Sri Lanka to investigate possible causes for microbial load of raw milk received by the factory. Milk samples obtained aseptically from bowsers reaching the factory were used for microbiological analysis and evaluation of quality by using platform tests. Time taken for transportation of chilled milk contributed most on the bacterial density of raw milk. Improper field level practices were also identified as the other major contributing factor. The quality of raw milk is high in Ampitiya, Anamaduwa, Dodangaslanda, Galgamuwa, Norwood, Kotagala and Maho where better sanitary conditions were observed at field level. Poor sanitary conditions in dairy farming in Galle, Gonapinuwala, Horana, Nittambuwa, Moonamaldeniya, Polgahawela and Thihagoda resulted in high initial bacterial density. It is concluded that, time taken for transportation of chilled milk is a major factor affecting microbial load at the reception of milk at the processing factory, while good field level practices should be maintained to improve the quality of milk. Milk from small scale cattle farms in dry zone and cooler areas in upcountry yielded better quality milk than those from wet zone. Recommendations to improve the quality of milk by encouraging the farmers to observe good hygienic practices are suggested.
Weerasinghe WPCG, Hettiarachi S and Jayarathne MPK