There are many reasons that may make your milk rejected by consumers.To avoid your milk being discarded it is good to practice clean milk production as follows.

Clean milk production depends on the following factors:

        Healthy and clean animals

The cow must be healthy; free from diseases like brucellosis, tuberculosis, and mastitis among others and be physically clean by regular grooming such as hair clipping and washing before milking process commences.

         Milk containers

The containers include milk churns, bottles, metallic cans, – must be thoroughly cleaned with soap and warm water.  This is a practice many small-scale farmers often overlook and so are milk vendors. Milk should also not be put in these containers immediately it has been drawn from the cow. This is because bacteria multiply more rapidly under warm conditions. Milk is usually warm when it leaves the udder (38.3ºC-38.9ºC). Thus it forms an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. The utensils thus should be kept clean and sterile as much as possible by using detergents and disinfectants.

        Milking sheds

The location of materials used in construction of milking sheds will determine whether milk will be clean or not. If it’s built in a location where drainage is poor, cleaning will be a problem hence unclean milk. If the shed has a roofing material that enhances leaking especially during rainy season then milk produced will not be clean. The bedding materials also used adjacent to the milking shed will also determine the cleanliness of milk. Therefore the milking shed should be located where drainage is possible. Good roofing materials that discourage leaking should be used. Bedding materials that are not easily blown by wind should be used.

     Personnel handling the milk

The people handling milk at farm level determine cleanliness of milk. First, the person who does the actual milking process must be scrupulously clean. His hands must be washed, clothes he is wearing must be clean and so is his entire body. The next person to be considered is the one transporting milk to the market. He should be clean. The cleanliness of these people, including the herdsman will ensure that milk at farm level is clean. The personnel should be encouraged to wear white overalls so that any dirt is detected early.

       Fly control 

This is one of the major precautions a small-scale farmer is encouraged to carry out. In most cases the farm yard manure and the slurry obtained especially where zero grazing unit exists encourage fly breeding. Another factor that encourages fly breeding is the type of pit latrines used in many homes. Dumping of decaying matter near the cattle shed will encourage fly breeding. The flies will thus come into contact with milk, thus making it unclean. To avoid this, the farmer must ensure that the disposal of manure and slurry is well done, at least far away from cattle shed as well as dumping decaying materials.

Proper use of drugs and chemicals

Several small-scale farmers really do not have the idea about the mechanism of actions and the subsequent repercussions of the drugs they use on their animals. Drugs like antibiotics, dewormers, milking salves, acaricides, and insecticides etc. have been wrongly used. The producers treat their animals with these drugs but never wait for the recommended withholding period before they sell milk, which is contaminated with these drugs. Others apply milking salves during milking process and these salves end up into the milk. Such kind of milk is contaminated and therefore it is unclean. Producers should be enlightened about the residue effect of these chemicals. This will make them aware of the dangers involved. This will finally reduce the rate of contamination of milk hence clean milk for consumption.

Flavours in milk

Bad flavours in milk make it unclean, as the consumer will reject it. The flavours are caused by feedstuff oxidation as well as tainting weeds. Materials like silage, pineapple fruit waste, onions and weeds like Tagetes minuta cause unpalatable flavours. Thus such feeds should be fed to cows after milking and not just before and during milking. Weeds causing milk taint should be avoided all together.

Milk exposed to the sun for a long time has its fats oxidized. Also if milk is put in containers which have traces of iron or copper it will have bad flavours. Thus, milk should be protected from sunlight and trace elements of iron or copper by using utensils free of these elements.

Milk adulteration

Addition of water, milk powder, cream, flavours, chemicals etc. into the milk

It has been observed that several small-scale farmers actually add water to increase the volume. This is aimed at getting a bigger profit margin. However, the cleanliness of the water used is questionable. If the water is not clean, as is in most cases, then the milk is contaminated and it is not clean. Therefore farmers should be strictly advised not to put water into milk for sale and home consumption.

 Close proximity of other livestock houses to milking sheds

This has been a reason for poor and unclean milk production by small-scale producers. In a situation where a pigs, goat or sheep or poultry unit are close to the dairy sheds, then the chances of milk contamination are very high. Therefore producers should be advised to establish dairy sheds in a separate location from other livestock houses.

Prompt cooling and storage of milk

Milk should be cooled to 4-10ºC as quickly as possible to reduce microbial growth and spoilage. Thus, cooling is necessary. In case of small-scale farmers the local charcoal cooler should be effectively used. Milk souring bacteria have growth rate slower at about 10ºC than 30ºC optimum temperatures. The organisms at 10ºC may take 12 hours to double while at 30ºC they will double about 20 times


Judy Vanessa

Judy Vanessa is an accomplished explorer,a passionate animal health extension practitioner and author. She loves writing about farming articles in various sectors.


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