Each of the characteristics that denotes quality in milk may be influenced by the hygienic or sanitary practices used in the production, processing and distribution of milk. Furthermore, each bears a relationship to either the presence or growth of microorganisms in milk.

Maintenance of the consumer's high regard for milk is essential. High standards of cleanliness within the industry will minimize the hazard of disease transmission through milk and will enhance its esthetic attractiveness. Milk of high sanitary quality and of unimpaired nutritive value will tend to encourage consumption and thereby be to the best interest of the consumer and to the dairy industry as well.

The availability of high quality milk supplies will depend largely upon the operation of effective sanitary control programs. Essential elements of such programs are (a) standards or requirements which must be satisfied, (b) enforcement, (c) education, and (d) compulsory pasteurization. Likewise, proper knowledge of the sources of microorganisms in milk and their control as well as the effect of other milk handling practices, such as developments in refrigeration and transportation, on milk quality are necessary.

Some distinction may be made between the bacteriological quality of raw milk as an indicator of sanitary practices used in its production, and bacteriological quality as an indicator of the suitability of milk for processing. It is clear, however, that production of milk of high sanitary quality and which is suitable for any use can best be accomplished by the application of good sanitary practices throughout all stages of production and transport to point of processing.

Important in the procurement of quality milk is an incentive on the part of producers to produce such milk. A meaningful standard of quality should be set, compliance with which is indicative of significant accomplishment. Recognition of achievement in some tangible form and large enough to be worthwhile must be provided to those who qualify.

Desire for volume of milk on the part of processor, cooperative or independent, at the expense of quality is certain to be a demoralizing influence on the operation of incentive programs.

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Author notes

1Presented at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Third Summer Course on “Organization and Evaluation of Animal Production in Larger Areas”, organized by the International Agricultural Center with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Department of Animal Husbandry of the State Agricultural University, August 27–September 1, 1962 at Wageningen, The Netherlands.