Impact of Industry Hauling Practices on Raw Milk Quality in a Commercial Setting Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/hm50tw012

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  • Hauling is a critical part of the commercial milk supply chain, yet very few studies have aimed to understand its impact on raw milk quality. Consolidation of the American milk industry has led to the use of tanker trucks for up to 24 h between cleanings, which is the maximum duration permitted by the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). As the extended use of tankers has not been previously studied, the impact of this form of hauling on raw milk quality is unknown. This study focused on the impact on raw milk quality during both short distance and high frequency hauling (up to 9 loads per 24 h) as well as long distance and low frequency hauling (2 loads per 24 h) situations at a commercial facility. Standard tanker use, (cleaned-in-place (CIP) once per 24 h) served as our control and incremental cleaning treatments were added to the study to understand if any impact could be mitigated by more frequent cleaning. Producer samples were collected from the farm prior to loading milk into the tanker as well as sampling the same milk directly out of the tanker truck prior to unloading at the manufacturer. The study was repeated at multiple facilities in both warm and cool months to understand any impact due to the facility or season. Milk quality was quantified through industry relevant microbiological tests: individual bacteria count (IBC), thermophillic spore count (TSC), and preliminary incubation count (PI). Within the study we defined a negative impact on milk quality as a statistically significant difference between the tanker and producer samples in any of the three microbial tests conducted. Results from the study showed no clear impact due to hauling in IBC, TSC, or PI counts. This result was consistent across all studies and locations suggesting that hauling does not have a measurable impact on milk quality regardless of the frequency of truck use. As we did not see a negative impact on milk quality due to basic hauling practices (24 h CIP), the addition of cleaning treatments did not appear to provide any benefit. Tanker surface swabs and ATP swabs were also used to monitor tanker sanitation and the efficacy of cleaning treatments. Both surface and ATP swabs revealed differences between cleaning efficacy at the facilities. Although the differences in efficacy did not influence tanker milk quality within our study, variability in sanitation may provide a source of contamination that could negatively impact raw milk quality in other quality attributes not measured. Based on this study, the current PMO regulation requiring a CIP every 24 h appears to be effective in mitigating any measurable impact on raw milk quality in both short and long haul situations.
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