Methods to rapidly assess the bacteriological quality of raw milk were investigated. Whereas direct microscopic count, modified psychrotrophic plate count, and direct epifluorescent filter technique (DEFT) did not correlate well with initial psychrotrophic bacterial count of raw milk, improvements were obtained after preincubation of the milk samples. The best preincubation conditions were identified as 30°C for 6 h, 21°C for 10 h, 13°C for 15 h, 13°C for 20 h, or 7°C for 37 h.

The “square root” equation was applied to the data, and a model was produced for predicting growth of the native microflora of raw milk. Using this equation, a DEFT count after preincubation of the milk at 21°C for 10 h could accurately predict the initial psychrotroph count and the count after storage of the milk at 6°C for 48 h.

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Author notes

1American Importing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

2Ministry of Agriculture, Tangier, Morocco.

3Department of Food Science, Ontario Agriculture College, University of Guelph, Canada N1G2W1.