The dairy industry needs to move toward production of high quality, good tasting, extended shelf life (less than 14 days) fluid milk products to enable our products to compete in the marketplace with shelf-stable convenience beverages (e.g., soft drinks, juices and sports drinks). It is clear that the bacterial quality of raw milk will have an increasingly important influence on final product quality. Overcoming the newly recognized hurdle presented by spore-forming bacteria will require a joint effort between producers, haulers and processors. Our current research goal is to better understand how bacterial contaminants enter the milk supply at the dairy plant and at the farm level. This information will enable development of management and sanitation practices for reducing bacterial contamination, which will ultimately increase consumer satisfaction with our products.
For more information on dairy product losses due to spoilage, see: Kantor et al., 1997. http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/foodreview/jan1997/jan97a.pdf. For more information on fluid milk quality in New York State, see: Carey, N. R., S. C. Murphy, R. N. Zadoks, and K. J. Boor. 2005. Shelf lives of pasteurized fluid milk products in New York State: a 10-year study. Food Protect. Trends. 25:102-113.
Kathryn J. Boor, Ph.D., is an associate professor and the director of the Milk Quality Improvement Program of Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y). Reach her at 607-255-3111 or email@example.com. Jason Huck is a graduate research assistant in Cornell’s Milk Quality Improvement Program. Reach him at 607-254-4967 or firstname.lastname@example.org.