Dairy Cattle - Tennessee Quality Milk Initiative
Bacteria in milk, whether originating from the cow or from the environment, significantly impact the quality of dairy products and therefore consumer acceptance. Bacteria produce heatstable enzymes that can damage milk fat and milk protein. These enzymes are not affected by pasteurization and continue to cause damage in the final dairy product. High bacteria levels in raw milk result in off-flavors, bitter flavors, rancidity and reduced shelf life. The Pasteurized Milk Ordinance specifies safety standards of Grade A milk to protect public health, not to maximize product quality and shelf life. The PMO only sets limits on somatic cell count and standard plate count. Additional tests utilized by the dairy industry have been developed and adopted to maximize quality and meet consumer demands. Processors and milk cooperatives use the following measurements to gauge product quality.
"W151-Bulk Tank Milk Quality Parameters," The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, , http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_agexani/72