Milk is nature’s best food. It is also called complete food for it is full of nutrients and minerals. However, it is important to ensure the quality and hygiene of milk during its handling, processing and hauling. Else, the quality of milk will degrade and can instead harm its consumers rather than benefits.
In addition, good quality of milk is necessary to produce good quality dairy products like butter, cheese, cottage cheese, etc. Without good quality milk, it is impossible to produce good quality milk products.
Milk is considered of good quality when it is –
- Free from off-flavours
- Free from antibiotics and other chemicals
- Free from sediments
- Low in bacteria
- Of normal composition and pH
Milk Hygiene at the Farm
For a longer shelf life and hygiene maintenance, it is important that milk at the farm is done with utmost hygiene. Whether milking is done by hand or by machine, it is essential to ensure proper sanitation. To maintain proper hygiene at the farm while milking, below are the requirements.
- The hands and clothes of the milker should be clean and he or she should be in good health.
- The milking machine and milk storage equipment should be clean and in good condition. It must be ensured that there are no dents or cracks in them. This can make the equipment difficult to clean and invite germs to build up in them.
- Milk needs to be cooled down to less than 4 degree Celsius immediately after milking. Otherwise, it may get spoiled within 3-4 hours if stored at high temperature. For small farms, this is easily done in refrigerators but for large commercial farms, expensive milk-cooling tanks do the needful.
Transportation for Processing
There is mainly two methods for transporting milk from farms to the processing factory.
Bulk Milk Transportation –
There are various companies that provide milk-hauling services. These milk haulers collect cooled milk from farmers and transport it to the processing factory in bulk containers or tankers. These tankers are insulated and thus keep the milk inside cooled for about 2-4 hours.
However, dairy transport companies play a critical role here. Quick transfer with good vehicle and smooth roads enable the milk-hauling service provider to transport good quality of milk to the processing factory. Otherwise, everyone from the farmer to the consumer will have to suffer huge losses.
In-can Milk Transportation –
The in-can transportation of milk has an advantage over bulk milk transportation. In bulk transportation, milk from all the farmers in a particular area is stored in one container. Hence, poor quality milk from a farmer is quite likely to spoil a whole lot of milk. Whereas, when milk is transported through cans, the spoilt lot cannot spoil the rest of the good quality milk.
Since the milk cans are not insulated, again it is the responsibility of the dairy transporter to ensure to transport milk to the processing factory in a good condition. For utmost hygiene and longer shelf life of milk, it is important to keep milk in shade or cool area even at collection points.
Hygiene at Dairy Factories
Milk and milk products spend most of the time either in transportation or in dairy processing factories. Hence, for good quality dairy products, it is necessary to maintain high-quality cleanliness and hygiene at factories also.
Most dairy factories use the cleanrooms special room where bacteria is very less, almost negligible) to process dairy products. It is important to clean and sanitize the floor, walls and especially the area that comes into direct contact with the dairy. The process area should be disinfected on a regular basis and after any accidental contamination.
Disinfection of equipment –
The machines, apparatus and pieces of equipment used during the dairy processing must be kept clean. There shouldn’t be any dents or cracks to avoid any germ build-up.
Nothing can be worse in the food industry than contamination during packaging. It is important to pack the final products in a hygienic way. For this, the packaging material should be stored in a dry place away from the manufacturing area. Packaging equipment should also be cleaned frequently to avoid any accidents.
Hygienic Storage and Transportation
It is important to keep dairy products at a low temperature until they reach their consumers. Storage in a clean, cool and dry place is essential for preventing deterioration of dairy products. Further, dairy transport should be carried out by professional milk and dairy hauling companies in clean, fast and efficient vehicles.
Clean and efficient dairy transport is important to provide milk and other dairy products to consumers. No home works without them. Hence, milk hauling services play an important part in every consumer’s life by providing them with nature’s best food every day.